A white South Carolina police officer has been charged with murder for shooting an unarmed black man in the back–after it was caught on video.
Michael Thomas Slager, a police officer with the North Charleston Police Department, was recorded dropping his Taser, pulling out a pistol, and firing at Walter Lamer Scott’s back as he ran away. Scott was shot eight times, before collapsing.
Protests began within hours. But, unlike in the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri–where the case was clouded by conflicting reports–this looks pretty ironclad.
Even the North Charleston police chief, Eddie Driggers, was shocked by Scott’s shooting: “I have watched the video. And I was sickened by what I saw. And I have not watched it since.”
Scott’s own mother, Judy, appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” to call for justice for her son. She called the video “the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen.”
She continues: “I almost couldn’t look at it to see my son running defenselessly, being shot. It just tore my heart to pieces.”
Slager initially claimed self-defense–but that was before the video came to light. Now, even his lawyer has dropped him as a client, he’s been fired from his job with the North Charleston police, and he’s been denied bail.
Slager faces up to 30 years to life in prison if convicted.