Yesterday yet another story broke of a white police officer gunning down an unarmed black man.
This time, however, the cop has already been charged with murder after footage showing the killing of Walter Scott revealed that the officer’s account was almost entirely fabricated.
Below are seven reports on and responses to Scott’s death to get you up to speed—and if you’re looking for broader context, check out Rare’s Super Story on Scott and my piece at the American Conservative about how police brutality is a widespread issue.
A white police officer in North Charleston, S.C., was charged with murder on Tuesday after a video surfaced showing him shooting in the back and killing an apparently unarmed black man while the man ran away.
The officer, Michael T. Slager, 33, said he had feared for his life because the man had taken his stun gun in a scuffle after a traffic stop on Saturday. A video, however, shows the officer firing eight times as the man, Walter L. Scott, 50, fled.
[The murder charges are] justice, people say. But legal charges and bloated prison cells can never make up for the loss of black lives. Death is not justice. Black people alive is.
“He was outgoing—loved everybody, [was] very known in the community and got along with everybody,” Anthony Scott told Lemon. “All the family loves him, and his kids loved him.”
Anthony Scott and supporters of the family called for reforms that could improve the way police officers treat minority communities.
“I don’t think that all police officers are bad cops, but there are some bad ones out there,” Anthony Scott said. “And I don’t want to see anyone get shot down like my brother got shot down.
“Oh my God, it’s painful. I mean to see your brother get gunned down that way,” Scott said of when he first saw the footage. “Everybody keeps saying that he ran, but after being tasered, I would have probably ran too to get that off me. I would have ran too, but I am sure that he didn’t think that he would have gotten shot.”
A closer look at the video that shows North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer Michael Slager shooting motorist Walter Scott in the back suggests why Slager’s superiors were so quick to charge him with murder after viewing the footage. Not only was Scott running away from Slager when the patrolman fired eight rounds at him, but it does not look like Scott ever had control of the officer’s Taser in a way that posed a significant threat. In fact, it looks like Slager may have doctored the scene by picking up the Taser and dropping it near Scott after shooting him.