Walter Scott’s Family: Without Bystander Video, Charges Unlikely

By Julianne Hing Apr 08, 2015

A day after white North Charleston, S.C. police officer Michael Slager was arrested for murdering a 50-year-old black man named Walter Scott, Scott’s family is voicing a sentiment shared by many: Without the damning video, there’d have been little hope for criminal charges. 

"It would have never come to light," Walter Scott Sr., the victim’s father, said on "The Today Show." "They would have swept it under the rug, like they did with many others. When I saw it I fell to my feet and my heart was broken." 

In a video made public Tuesday, on the same day that Slager was charged with murder, the 33-year-old officer can be seen shooting at Scott Jr. eight times while he flees. Just after the shooting Slager radioed for assistance, saying: "Shots fired and the subject is down. He took my Taser," the New York Times reported. In the video, however, shortly after the shooting, Slager runs back to the spot where the two men initially met and Slager reportedly fired his Taser. Slager picks up an item and drops it near Scott’s body.

The FBI and the Department of Justice have opened separate inquiries into the case.

An analysis from South Carolina newspaper The State found that police officers have fired their guns 209 times in the last five years, resulting in 79 deaths. Among those more than 200 incidents just three officers were ever accused of misconduct. All three cases were brought just in the last year against white cops who shot at black drivers. No South Carolina cop has been convicted in the last five years.