Feidin Santana, a barber who immigrated to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic, is at the center of a story that has transfixed the nation. It was Santana's cell phone video that resulted in Officer Michael Slager, 33, being arrested and charged with murder Tuesday for the shooting death of 50-year-old Walter Scott, 50, after a traffic stop in North Charleston, South Carolina on Saturday.
"I thought about his position, their situation ... If I were to have a family member that would happen [to], I would like to know the truth," Santana said in an exclusive interview with NBC News' Lester Holt.
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Officer Slager said he had shot Scott because he feared for his life after Scott took his Taser gun. But Santana's video shows an object being thrown to the ground, Scott running away, and then the officer shooting a total of 8 times as Scott is running away from him.
When Santana was asked by Lester Holt how he felt about the fact that because of his video a police officer has been arrested and charged, he said, "it's not something that no one can feel happy about. He has his family, Mr. Scott also has his family. But I think, you know, he [the officer] made a bad decision, and you pay for your decisions in this life."
Santana added that "Mr. Scott didn't deserve this," saying there were other ways which the officer could have used to get him arrested, "and that wasn't the proper way to do that."
Later in an interview with MSNBC's Chris Hayes, Santana said he almost erased the footage. "I thought about erasing the video and just getting out of the community, you know Charleston, and living some place else," said Santana. "I knew the cop didn't to the right thing."
The 23-year-old Dominican American has been called a "hero" by attorneys for the Scott family. Without the video, the family has said publicly, they never would have known what really happened between their deceased relative and the police officer.
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