Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

White US Policeman Charged with Murder of Fleeing Black Man

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

White US Policeman Charged with Murder of Fleeing Black Man

Article excerpt

Byline: David Gardner in Los Angeles

A WHITE police officer in the US has been charged with murder after a video emerged of him shooting a black motorist eight times in the back as the man tried to flee.

Patrolman Michael Slager, 33, opened fire on father-of-four Walter Scott, 50, as he was running away in a park following a traffic stop.

Today fears were growing that the killing in North Charleston, South Carolina, could trigger more racial unrest similar to clashes in Ferguson, Missouri, last year after police shot dead an unarmed teenager.

The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation into Saturday's shooting of the Coast Guard veteran, which was filmed by an unnamed bystander.

Mr Scott's family said they would be filing a civil lawsuit. The relatives say they are unhappy at the way the police department tried to defend the officer until the footage was unveiled.

The video shows the motorist starting to run off. With Mr Scott about 10ft away, Slager draws his gun and fires seven times in quick succession. He pauses briefly and shoots one more time as his target staggers and slumps to the grass.

The officer can be heard on the tape yelling at the fallen man: "Put your hands behind your back." Mr Scott died at the scene, the Charleston Post and Courier reported. Major Eric Watson of Charleston County Sheriff 's office said Mr Scott had been wanted for arrest over a family court warrant and was driving a Mercedes-Benz when he was stopped by patrolman Slager because of a broken tail light.

The officer said he feared for his life because Mr Scott took his Taser in a scuffle following the traffic stop. However, Slager's account was called into question after the video appeared to show him shooting the fleeing man in the back. Wires carrying the stun-gun's electrical current appear to be attached to Mr Scott's clothing as he is chased onto the grassy area. …

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