Officer charged with murder after video shows him shooting man in back

Posted at 7:12 PM, Apr 07, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-07 20:19:37-04

CHARLESTON, S.C. – A South Carolina officer has been charged with murder after a video surfaced that appears to show him shooting an unarmed man who was running away.

Editor’s note: The video is graphic. Viewer discretion advised. 

Michael Slager, an officer with the North Charleston Police Department, was arrested Tuesday, according to a statement from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, or SLED. If found guilty of murder, he could face up to life in prison or death.

Michael Slager, an officer with the North Charleston Police Department

The shooting took place Saturday after a traffic stop, SLED said. Video obtained by The New York Times shows what happened.

A black man breaks away from the white officer. Something falls, and the officer fires eight shots at the man as the man runs away.

The man, who appears to be unarmed, drops to the ground.

“I can tell you that as the result of that video and the bad decision made by our officer, he will be charged with murder,” North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey told reporters Tuesday. “When you’re wrong, you’re wrong.”

CNN affiliate WCIV identified the victim as 50-year-old Walter Scott. His family spoke to WCIV over the weekend, before the officer was arrested, describing Scott as a good man who was about to be married.

“All we want is the truth, and we’ll go any length to get that so that my brother can rest in peace,” Anthony Scott told the affiliate.

According to WCIV, Slager initially said through his attorney, David Aylor, that he followed the appropriate policies and procedures.

Aylor later told CNN that he no longer represents the officer, and it was unclear whether Slager had obtained new representation.