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A North Charleston, South Carolina man said Thursday that the same police officer who fatally shot Walter Scott last weekend had stunned him with a Taser in a 2013 case of mistaken identity and police brutality.
Mario Givens said he filed a complaint about the episode, in which Officer Michael Slager was cleared of wrongdoing. But the case has drawn new attention in light of Scott's death, for which Slager has been charged with murder.
After seeing the video of Slager shooting Scott, Givens said he wondered if things would have turned out differently if Slager had been reprimanded for the earlier episode.
"What came to my mind is if they had tried to listen to me that man might have been alive, because he wouldn't have been an officer in the field," Givens said at a Thursday afternoon press conference.
North Charleston police said they would review Givens' case in response to questions first raised by The Associated Press.
Givens' lawyer, hired on Wednesday, said they plan to sue the city.
Speaking to reporters with his lawyer at his side, Givens, 33, said he was awakened in the middle of the night in September 2013 by Slager knocking on his door. Slager said he was investigating reports of a man who lived there committing a break-in, Givens said. Givens said he refused to leave. A second officer appeared, and the two cops tried to pull him out.
Officers had been looking for Givens' brother, Matthew Givens, whose ex-girlfriend had reported he came into her bedroom uninvited, then left when she screamed and called 911, The Associated Press reported.
"And he was like, 'Come out the house or I’m gonna Tase you,'" Givens said. "So I threw my hands up. And he still Tased me."
Givens said he fell to the ground, injuring his arm. "I didn't come out the house. I didn't walk out the house. They didn’t put me out the house. I fell out the house," Givens said.
Givens said he injured his arm.
The Associated Press obtained a copy of Slager's report on the incident, in which the officer wrote that he could not see Givens' hands and feared he might be holding a weapon.
In the end, Givens was released without being charged, The AP reported.
The next day, Givens filed a complaint accusing Slager of excessive use of force, according to police records. He told reporters on Thursday that he was never even interviewed. Other witnesses told the AP said they weren't, either. Givens found out later that Slager had been cleared of wrongdoing.
The woman who'd initially called police on Matthew Givens went with officers to the home, and when Mario Givens opened the door she yelled to police from inside the car that Mario Givens was not the many who had allegedly broken in, police records show.
During the incident, Mario Givens told Slager he didn't look anything like the suspect, and that he is 6 feet 3 inches tall while the man they were looking for is five-foot-five.
Slager's report said Givens didn't comply with his orders, so he entered the home to prevent him from fleeing and was forced to use his stun gun when Givens struggled with him. In the report, filed by Slager and the second officer,they described the Givens brothers as looking "just alike."