A senior councilman in the South Carolina city where Walter Scott was shot dead told NBC News on Wednesday that the city should support the “hard-working officer” charged with murder.
Bobby Jameson, who is also a cabinet member and mayor pro tem, also criticized protests outside City Hall.
“The NAACP and those people make it look like, to the rest of the black community, that you are doing something by screaming ‘Justice, Justice, Justice,’” he said. “Well, a man’s already been charged with murder. What more justice do you want?”
“Let’s have the facts come out,” he added. “That demonstration out here has nothing to do with the city of North Charleston. It has to do with the show that they want to put on to the black community across the nation.”
Michael Slager, a white police officer, was charged with murder on Tuesday in the shooting death of Scott, who was black and apparently unarmed. Video shot by a bystander appears to show Slager firing eight times as Scott ran away from him.
Jameson said that the city should support the officer “as best we can until all the facts about this case are out because, one, he’s a hard-working officer and, two, he’s an employee of this city.”
Use of deadly force by police in Ferguson, Missouri, and in New York and Cleveland, among other places, has generated debate about policing, particularly in confrontations with unarmed black men.
Jameson said that his city does not have a race problem. “What we have is a drug problem,” he said.
Last year, a football coach at the city’s predominantly white Academic Magnet High School was fired, and then reinstated, after postgame celebrations that officials said had racial overtones, with players smashing watermelons and making ape-like sounds.
The South Carolina ACLU said on Twitter than an investigation into the police department was “overdue.”
Asked whether the police department needs change, Jameson said: “We have our issues. If I could make some changes, I would. I’m sure any city across the nation would probably say they could make some changes, but all in all our police officers walking the streets … do very good work and a very good job. Our nation has a high crime rate, and it is mostly drug-related.”