South Carolina shooting: What the videos shows

Michael Slager feels Walter Scott's pulse Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Michael Slager feels for a pulse in Walter Scott's neck after handcuffing him

A police officer has been charged with murder after a bystander's video showed him shooting a man as he ran away. So what exactly does this video - and a second video later released by police - show us?


It was about 0930 local time when 50-year-old Walter Scott was stopped for a traffic violation - a broken brake light - by police officer Michael Slager in North Charleston, South Carolina.

A police dashcam video released late on Thursday shows the officer speaking at the driver's window of a Mercedes-Benz. There is a passenger who has not been identified.

The officer requests Mr Scott's licence and registration. As Mr Slager returns to his cruiser to check the identification, Mr Scott opens the car door, gets out and then gets back in.

Then he opens the door again and runs away and out of the picture, with the officer in pursuit.

The bystander's video begins seconds later.


In this video, filmed by passer-by Feidin Santana and made public on Tuesday, we first see Mr Slager and Mr Scott standing close to one another.

There is a small scuffle between the men and something is seen falling to the ground. Mr Slager claimed Mr Scott tried to grab his Taser. Mr Santana later said he saw Mr Scott trying to defend himself against the officer firing the Taser at him.

"He was just trying to get away from the Taser, that's all he did," Mr Santana told the BBC.

"He never tried to take the Taser away and put it to the cop, or try to fight with the cop. No, the cop had control of the situation."

The footage then shows Mr Scott running away from the Mr Slager and the officer draws his gun and fires eight times at Mr Scott's back. Mr Scott slumps to the ground.

Mr Slager walks over to where Mr Scott is lying and says into his radio: "Shots fired and the subject is down, he grabbed my Taser."

He shouts at Mr Scott: "Put your hands behind your back."

Walter Scott shooting

Image copyright BBC/Google
  • 1. Just before 09:30 local time, Walter Scott is stopped by Officer Michael Slager for a broken brake light at the junction between Remount Road and Craig Road in North Charleston. As Mr Slager checks Mr Scott's paperwork, Mr Scott runs away.
  • 2. Mr Slager radios in to the police control centre to inform them of the pursuit down Craig Road.
  • 3. Video filmed by bystander Feidin Santana shows the pair scuffle and then Mr Scott fleeing. Mr Slager is then seen shooting eight times at Mr Scott's back. Mr Scott dies at the scene.


Mr Slager then handcuffs Mr Scott, who is lying face down and appears to be motionless.

The officer jogs back to where the two men scuffled, about 30ft (9m) away. He picks something up from the ground - said to be the Taser - and walks back over to drop it by the body of Mr Scott.

Another police officer has now arrived and calls over the radio for assistance as he kneels by Mr Scott's body. As he does so, Mr Scott picks up the object from the ground and returns it its holster.

The second officer then leaves the scene and Mr Slager seems to check Mr Scott's pulse in his neck.

Image caption Mr Slager and another officer stand over the body of Mr Scott after the shooting

By now, police sirens can be heard.

The video ends and then resumes, apparently moments later, with more police at the scene. One of them has medical equipment.


Mr Slager's lawyer at the time, David Aylor, released a statement on Monday saying the officer felt threatened and that Mr Scott had tried to grab the stun gun.

Mr Scott's family said they were told after the shooting, before the video came to light, that the police had acted in accordance with procedure.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Walter's brother Anthony Scott (right) said his brother was running for his life

When the video emerged, Mr Aylor resigned as Mr Slager's lawyer and the police took swift action. North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said the officer had made a "bad decision".


Mr Santana, whose video led to the murder charge against the officer, began filming after seeing Mr Slager chasing Mr Scott toward an empty patch of ground.

"I tried to get over there to see what was going to happen when they went to an empty spot... especially police against a black person," he told the BBC.

Mr Santana said Mr Slager only became aware of him filming after he had shot Mr Scott.

"You don't shoot a person in the back trying to run away from you," he said. "You have to try everything. That person was not a threat to the police officer."

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionFeidin Santana said Walter Scott "was not a threat to the police officer"

Mr Santana tried to contact Mr Scott's family via Facebook and passed a still from the video to a member of the Black Lives Matter campaign, launched in response to the police killing of Michael Brown last year.

Community spokespeople in North Charleston have described Mr Santana as a hero and questioned what would have happened without the video evidence.