If the death of an armed Justis Howell is a good example of the legitimate application of the fleeing felon rule, then the death of Walter Scott is an example of an officer who claimed to have been following the fleeing felon rule, when he clearly broken the law.
A white North Charleston police officer was arrested on a murder charge and the FBI opened a civil rights investigation Tuesday after video surfaced of the lawman shooting eight times at a 50-year-old black man as he ran away.
Walter L. Scott, a Navy veteran and father, died Saturday after Patrolman 1st Class Michael T. Slager, 33, shot him several times in the back.
The video footage, which The Post and Courier obtained Tuesday from a source who asked to remain anonymous, shows the end of the confrontation between the two on Saturday after Scott ran from a traffic stop. It was the first piece of evidence contradicting an account Slager gave earlier this week through his attorney.
In what appears to be cell phone video, Scott is seen to be struggling with Slager, and what is later identified as a taser falls to the ground. Scott then turns and runs away with his hands apparently empty. Slager draws his weapon and fires seven times in rapid succession, before taking a final deliberate shot that sends Scott wilting to the ground.
Allegedly, part of the reason that murder charges were filed against Slager is that he claimed in his report that he fired because Scott has his taser and he felt threatened, which does not match what we see in the video.
I cannot think of any excuse that Slager might offer up that will justify his actions, nor falsifying his report.
to the best we can determine, this was a bad shoot.