A video that surfaced Tuesday night showed a white North Charleston, S.C. police officer shooting and killing an unarmed black man as he ran from the officer. The micro-blogging service Twitter erupted with links to the video Tuesday night, as the officer—Michael T. Slager, 33—was charged with murder, his earlier version of the events having been deemed false.
Slager previously said he “feared for his life because the man had taken his stun gun in a scuffle after a traffic stop on Saturday,” according to the New York Times. The video instead shows a brief physical interaction, the suspect—Walter L. Scott, 50—running and the officer pointing his gun and firing off eight shots.
As Scott falls to the ground, Slager picks up something from the ground near the initial point of interaction, and drops it near Scott’s body. Police reports also indicate that officers performed CPR and first aid on Scott, another point disputed by the video evidence.
The shooting, of course, follows a year of extremely high profile and volatile cases of white officers killing black men, with varying responses; from the militarized and violent clashes in Ferguson, Mo. following Mike Brown’s death, to the relatively peaceful protests against the no-indictment in the case of the NYPD officer who used an illegal chokehold, resulting in the death of Eric Garner, a New Yorker.
North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey announced the murder charges at a Tuesday night press conference, saying, “…If you make a bad decision, don’t care if you’re behind a shield or just a citizen on the street, you have to live by that decision.”