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WARNING GRAPHIC: White South Carolina Police Officer Charged With Murder in The Shooting Death of Unarmed Black Man

April 8, 2015  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
WARNING GRAPHIC: White South Carolina Police Officer Charged With Murder in The Shooting Death of Unarmed Black Man Charleston County, S.C., Sheriff's Office shows Patrolman Michael Thomas Slager on Tuesday, April 7, 2015.

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A white South Carolina police officer was charged with the shocking murder of a fleeing unarmed black man during a routine traffic stop. The policeman’s arrest comes after cell phone video of the incident surfaced, which contradicted the account he detailed of the Saturday shooting.

North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey announced Tuesday, the arrest of Officer Michael Slager for the murder of 50-year-old Michael Scott after authorities received the alarming footage from a witness.

“Doesn’t matter if you’re a cop, when you’re wrong, you’re wrong.
If you make a wrong decision, I don’t care if you’re behind the shield or just a person on the street, you must live by that decision,” Summey said at a news conference.

PHOTO: This undated photo shows Walter "Lamar" Scott who was shot and killed by a police officer on April 4, 2015 in North Charleston, S.C. (Photo obtained by ABC News)

PHOTO: This undated photo shows Walter “Lamar” Scott who was shot and killed by a police officer on April 4, 2015 in North Charleston, S.C. (Photo obtained by ABC News)

The FBI announced they would launch an investigation over the shooting and will provide assistance to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s probe into the shooting.

Slager is in the custody of the Charleston County Detention Center, held without bail. He could face the death penalty or a minimum of 30 years in prison, if convicted.

A judge denied Slager bail Tuesday night following his arrest. An ultra right-wing group, Culture Fight, at first launched an online fundraising page to pay for the patrolman’s legal defense, but removed it within hours.

The fatal shooting occurred during a traffic stop 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning. Slager said he pulled over Scott because of a broken taillight. Slager claimed he feared for his life during an ensuing struggle and opened fire after Scott took his Taser.

PHOTO: This undated photo shows Walter “Lamar” Scott who was shot and killed by a police officer on April 4, 2015 in North Charleston, S.C. (Photo obtained by ABC News)

The video shows Scott fleeing from Slager and looks to be at least 15 feet running away from the officer before firing his weapon eight times, Scott then collapses face first into the grass.

Slager radios shots fired as he closes in on the fatally wounded Scott.

“Put your hands behind your back!” Slager is heard screaming with his weapon drawn.

Slager then slaps handcuffs on Scott, then goes back to his original position. However, Slager returns to Scott’s body and appears to toss what seems to be a stun gun, next to the lifeless body.

After the fatal shooting, the astonished witness, who’s identity has not been revealed, kept filming the events, which then shows Slager checking Scott for a pulse.

Slager fired eight shots, hitting Scott four times in the back and one time behind the ear.

“I close my eyes, and all I see is my brother taking those bullets, I can’t sleep,” Rodney Scott, the victim’s younger brother said in an interview.

Slager’s attorney said in a statement on Monday that the patrolman feared for his life because Scott attempted to grab his stun gun. However, on Tuesday, the attorney announced he no longer represented Slager.

The lawyers for the Scott family applauded Tuesday’s developments while continuing criticism of the police for the initial accounts of the deadly shooting that solely relied on Slager’s version of the incident.

Attorney Justin Bamberg appeared at a news conference with Scott’s family members and the National Action Network on Tuesday.

The brothers of Walter Scott, Rodney Scott, left, and Anthony Scott, appear at a news conference in Charleston, S.C., on Tuesday. PHOTO: BRUCE SMITH/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The brothers of Walter Scott, Rodney Scott, left, and Anthony Scott, appear at a news conference in Charleston, S.C., on Tuesday. PHOTO: BRUCE SMITH/ASSOCIATED PRESS

“Where would we be without that video? It’s only because of the “hero” who filmed the shooting that they know what happened,” Bamberg said.

He said of the witness, “Everyone must recognize the strength, fearlessness and fortitude it took the person to come forward, when you realize you’ve just recorded a police officer murder somebody.”

North Charleston Police Chief Eddie Driggers called the shooting a tragic event and doesn’t represent his department.

The department employs 343 officers, the city’s population is 50 percent black.

“This is not acceptable in the state of South Carolina. Nor is it indicative of our values or of the way most of our law enforcement officials acts. I will assure all South Carolinians that the criminal judicial process will proceed to the fullest extent,” said Governor Nikki Haley.

Scott had prior arrests for failing to pay child support, and a 1987 arrest for assault and battery.

Scott’s family members called him an outgoing father of four who served two years with the U.S. Coast Guard. Scott received an honorable discharge and was engaged to be married.

“I have two brothers; I had two brothers Now I only have one brother,” a heartbroken Anthony Scott said during the news conference.

The distraught brother called for reforms aimed at preventing further tragedies and asked supporters to remain peaceful as the investigation moves forward.

“All we want is the truth,” Anthony proclaimed.

Ironically, Slager is also a veteran of the Coast Guard. He has worked for the North Charleston Police Department for five years. Slager has had two complaints lodged against him during his five years on the force.

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