A white South Carolina police officer has been charged with murder for killing an apparently unarmed black man. The charges were filed after cell phone video of the shooting was published by the New York Times, revealing that officer Michael Slager fired eight shots as 50-year-old Walter Scott ran away. The officer had told superiors he opened fire because Scott attempted to grab his taser and he feared for his life. The video not only contradicts that narrative, but shows Slager apparently planting evidence to back up his story, dropping an object near Scott’s body.
Police say the incident began as a traffic stop for a bad brake light.
The video evidence of Scott’s death comes as police departments across the country consider the use of officer-worn body cameras as a so-called transparency mechanism in response to national outrage over the police use of deadly force against unarmed civilians. FSRN’s Lena Nozizwe reports from Los Angeles, where local police are rolling out body cams while some activists warn the negatives outweigh the potential benefits.