Breaking News Emails
Dash cam video released Thursday shows the initial interaction between Walter Scott and the officer who soon after fatally shot the father of four in the back as he ran away.
The video shows what starts off as a routine traffic stop and apparently benign encounter between former Officer Michael Slager and Scott. Then it shows Scott get out of his car and run away — but does not capture the shooting whose filming by a bystander sparked national outrage and led to murder charges for Slager.
The dash cam footage released by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division shows Slager's patrol car pull Scott over into a parking lot for what police have said was a broken brake light. The officer then asks Scott for his license, registration and insurance information. Scott replies that he has no insurance for the car because he in the process of purchasing it and Slager then returns to his patrol car.
While he is at his patrol car, Scott is seen getting out of his car and running away before Slager can be heard chasing him.
Slager was fired and charged with murder after eyewitness video released of the incident showed him shooting Scott in the back as he ran away in an empty lot.
Breaking News Emails
Slager fired eight times and hit Scott with four or five bullets before he fell to the ground. The murder charge carries a penalty of 30 years to life in prison or the death penalty, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said in a statement.
Feidin Santana, the witness who recorded the incident on his cellphone, said in an exclusive interview with NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt on Wednesday that while he did see Slager and Scott struggle before he started recording, the officer had control of the situation and did not appear to be in danger before shots were fired.
Santana said he turned the video over to police after hearing about the incident on the news and reading the police report, adding the account provided by police did not match what he had witnessed.
"It wasn't like that, the way they were saying," Santana said in an interview on MSNBC's "All In With Chris Hayes" Wednesday. "I said, 'No ... this is not what happened.'"
In the police report, Slager is quoted as telling a dispatcher: "Shots fired, and the subject is down. He took my Taser." Video of the incident shows Slager said Scott "grabbed” the Taser," but does not show Scott ever actually taking it from the officer. Instead, Scott runs away with what appear to be Taser wires extending from his body before Slager opens fire.
The disturbing incident is the latest in a series of cases involving controversial use of police force against black people, including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Eric Garner in New York City and Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio.