Cop Charged with Murder following Fatal Shooting Caught on Tape

A South Carolina cop is being charged with murder following a fatal shooting of a man he pulled over during a traffic stop Saturday in North Charleston, local media reports.

The officer, identified as Michael Slager with the North Charleston Police Department, was arrested Tuesday. Slager fired eight shots at the motorist who appeared to be unarmed and fleeing from the scene.

Officer Michael Slager. (Photo: CCDC VIA WCSC)

Officer Michael Slager. (Photo: CCDC VIA WCSC)

The incident was caught on camera by an onlooker.

“I can tell you that as the result of that video and the bad decision made by our officer, he will be charged with murder,” North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey told reporters Tuesday.

“When you’re wrong, you’re wrong. And if you make a bad decision — don’t care if you’re behind the shield or just a citizen on the street — you have to live by that decision,” added Summery.

The victim has been identified as 50-year-old Walter Scott, according to CNN.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 51 comments… add one }
  • D E Long May 1, 2015, 2:03 am

    As one who has carried a weapon in the line of duty for almost 40 years, I see no excuse for shooting that man in the back. I wish I knew what that cop was thinking. Well, obviously he was not thinking or he would not have done that.

  • William Thornburg April 16, 2015, 2:14 am

    Unapplicable comment in my opinion

  • William Thornburg April 16, 2015, 12:20 am

    April 15th, 2015
    It’s shocking for us to hear about another police shooting that occurred on April 4th, 2015, in South Carolina. Any sensible person, learning basic facts about our laws would find that almost 100% of incidences involving police shootings and other injuries of suspects were caused by the suspects’ failure to abide by our laws. Our laws are clear in that people must submit to arrest at the time requested to do so by the appropriate police authority. If our laws are to be applied equally, then all people should accept and respect this premise.

    Those who jumped onto the “bad law enforcement” wagon must not understand the fact that a human being is never really “un-armed”. Actually, people can inflict a lot of damage by only using their body. This is an overlooked fact that needs to be understood because physical attacks made by “un-armed people” can and has been known to maim or even cause death. Law enforcement officers contend with verbal threats and other things that usually follow e.g. kicking feet, swinging fists, head-butting, biting, digging fingers, scratching, pulling throats, hitting with elbows, knees, or pulling away has brought serious harm to law enforcement officers in the past. The police are armed and trained to subdue and capture those who resist arrest in response to fight and flight situations. Law enforcement personnel are strictly held accountable if there are failures in this area. It is their job to detain or arrest anyone whom they have suspicion of violating our laws.

    One of the most unacceptable behaviors in our country is the criminal act of not submitting to an arrest when asked to do so by law enforcement. The laws do apply to all of us and we have no right to resist an arrest that is initiated by a duly authorized police officer. This is an ongoing issue that must not be understood and needs to be learned. Those who resist arrests usually have unfavorable results from doing so. Criminals always try to make their own exceptions to our laws. Law abiding citizens are thankful for the laws and those policing authorities who are willing to accept risks to themselves in order to enforce laws that protects everyone. Police are very necessary for us and their actions ultimately contribute to the benefit of everyone’s life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    This is not the first time nor will it be the last that a criminal person, gang, or mob of people disrespected the laws of our land. It is unfortunate that there are many who quickly make uninformed decisions and jump on the “bad law enforcement” wagon without understanding our laws and looking hard at the facts, first.
    Even videos can tell half-truths if all events are not present and there is no bigger lie than a half-truth. Sure, the police, our laws, and courts are not perfect. Actual authority is originated by voters and the people have the responsibility of their actions to remain within civility. Otherwise, we would all begin settling differences individual. If it were not for laws and the enforcement community, we would have combat with one another to settle our differences. Instead, we should continue to respect our laws and our enforcement officers. It would be much better to provide our lawmakers with recommendations for solutions to correct problems.
    Don’t be tricked and join in with ramped-up feelings that distort the whole truth. Police deserve to be treated as you want to be treated. From this tragic, heated, and trying occurrence more compassion should be felt and given to the police officer than to the criminal. The officer had to shoot a person who not only refused to be arrested by fighting, but he was attempting to run away. It would have been a dereliction of his duty if the police officer decided to allow the suspect to get away at the expense of all-the-people that he has sworn to protect.
    Think about how that would have worked for a police officer; to confront and attempt to arrest someone who has given you reason to suspect they that they are criminal by running away. That fight and flight thing was reason enough to stop the criminal. Allowing suspects to run away because of their objection to being arrested would not promote the idea of crime prevention.
    In my opinion the police officer, from his training, immediately became worried that the suspect was going to get away. Is there reason to think that the officer is a murderer for doing his job? Would it be best to continue the civility of law enforcement or do we want criminal matters to be taken into our own untrained minds and hands? Unless there are additional facts produced that are not yet known regarding the South Carolina incident, it was clearly the conduct of the suspect, Walter Scott, which precipitated and caused this deadly event.

    • gerard carter April 22, 2015, 9:27 am

      What is the risk,Death! Or arrest. As slow as he was running a turtle could have stopped him.

    • Leadsender April 28, 2015, 1:29 am

      What video were you watching? I am amazed but, I should not be that people will excuse the behavior of this officer. If you can not see that there is something wrong with shooting a person in the back as they run away form you then there is something the matter with you. There is situation on the street that people describe as “contempt of cop”. Basically, if a citizen expresses an opinion, there knowledge of the law, questions there authority the officer gets mad and say the citizen is resisting arrest, confrontational, or on drugs to justify a beating, abuse or shooting. Too serve and protect comes to mind when I think of the job of a police office not to shoot in the back and kill.

    • Ronald Kenley July 22, 2016, 8:22 am

      I was a police officer on the Columbus Police Department for six years back in the 70’s. I experience extreme racism by being a black officer on a predominately white police force. In the Sub-Station the”N” word flowed like water. So believe me there are some racially motivated officers still out there and most of them are working in Black areas so they can do legal adversity on black men and women. I’m not surprised when I hear about unusual things happening to Blacks because the mine sit is a generational hand me down

      • Slick-Willy April 1, 2017, 10:23 am

        What the hell is a “mine sit” ?

    • mtman2 June 23, 2017, 12:15 pm

      Are you just stupid or merely retarded-???
      You wasted a lot of words to justify nothing- that cop murdered that man for nothing= its on video.
      No sane person does that- badge or not= very sick to view it…

    • Mike Bolton July 28, 2017, 1:00 pm

      I had the shit beat out of me by a cop when I was 17. The cop was convinced I had robbed a lady and was attempting to beat a confession out of me. I was arrested. We get to the station in Concord, and 2 boys had just been caught with the womans purse, that I got beat up over. The cop then makes up a story about how I ran away, and I got hurt when he was detaining me. Then the piece of shit lies and charges me with “evading capture” even though I did nothing wrong, I never ran, and I needed a bunch of stitches. Oh and they charged me as an adult too. As far as Im concerned, every time I hear a cops been murdered… I set of firworks to celebrate. Fuck every single one of them. They all lie to protect each other. 3 cops in that station knew damn well, I did nothing, and they let the system railroad me.

      • Eddie Pena March 2, 2018, 9:36 pm

        Amen, brother, what you have described is a frequent occurrence that most people are not aware of until it happens to them. Fuk the cops. They are the attack dogs of the ruling elite.

    • Eddie Pena March 2, 2018, 9:30 pm

      When cops abuse their authority, as they frequently do, and shoot unarmed citizens, they must be punished severely. If not, we give them license to kill. Many cops become cops because they are sadistic bullies who can assault and kill people with impunity. You can go and kiss a cop’s ass with your asinine commentary.Never mind, you already did.

    • Eddie Pena March 2, 2018, 9:37 pm

      In a few words, you are so full of shit eventually you will burst and spray your shit all over the place. Go blow a cop.

  • Grant April 14, 2015, 9:47 pm

    I think if I was African American I wouldn’t leave my house without a helmet and and bullet proof vest.

    • William Thornburg April 16, 2015, 2:10 am

      Strange that you felt that race was the cause of the suspect failing to abide by our laws. Education is the only thing that separates us and how others treat us is based upon the “what you do, is what you get”. There is always time for people to look at each other as important links in humanity. Freedom puts responsibility on all, but not all act responsible with it. I lost a childhood friend doing something very similar. That was tragic and he was Caucasian. Law does not allow us to resist arrest.

      • Leadsender April 28, 2015, 1:15 am

        Tell that part about education to my brother. Did I mention that my brother if a retired USAF Full Bird Col., Surgeon, Flight Surgeon, Med school grad, college grad. LEO’s don’t see all that education; they see a black face and skin. I can’t tell you how many stories that he has told of being pulled over at various duty stations across this nation from the west coast in CA to the east coast in FL because of the skin that he is in. You are right about responsibility. Police officer’s should not be allowed to hide behind the badge when they make decisions that are WRONG. How can you say that you were resisting arrest when you were clearly 30-40 feet away with your back turned. I can guarantee that as someone who carries a weapon everyday for personal protection that if I were caught on video in this same shooting situation that I would be on the way to prison for the rest of my live.

  • Kivaari April 13, 2015, 3:40 pm

    Watch the video from the beginning. After the cop yells “TASER-TASER-TASER” he gets into a scuffle with the suspect. The suspect took the officers TASER. Then un-noticed by the cop, the suspect threw the TASER 10 feet of so behind the officer. Then the suspect turns and runs. The cop is thinking, “This guy has my TASER”. Knowing a TASER can be used criminally, and costs about $800 (felony theft) the cop wants it back. Hiss biggest mistake was made when he found the suspect/decedent didn’t have the TASER. It’s an “OH, Shit” moment. Now he just screwed himself when he went back to the scuffle site. Oh, there’s my TASER, I need to put it by the suspect, because I thought he really had it. That act of tampering with the crime scene turned a poor shoot into a murder charge. He will NOT be convicted of murder. He may get a lesser manslaughter charge.

    • Damon April 13, 2015, 5:14 pm

      As the subject turns to flee, you can clearly see that one of the Taser conductors is tangled in his pant leg and he is dragging the spent cartridge. Even if he had been in posession of the Tazer, it had been discharged and was a harmless piece of plastic without a reload. The officer had the subject’s license, his car, and his bill of sale for the vehicle. Two phone calls would have supplied his employer and place of business. Unnecessary shoot.

      • William Thornburg April 16, 2015, 1:58 am

        No one has the right to resist arrest by fighting with an officer of the law while that officer is in the process of arrest. The suspect could have submitted as legally requested. Right about 20/20 hindsight, but it takes a robot not to react improper from the natural limitations created in a fight.

        • Mike Bolton July 28, 2017, 1:14 pm

          Wrong. You may even kill an officer if they are trying to kill you. Self defense.
          Or as the cop bitches always cry, even though they have better armor than I ever had in the Marines…
          ” Im a pussy and feared for my life.

          When can you defend yourself against police?
          Your Right of Defense Against Unlawful Arrest.

          “Citizens may resist unlawful arrest to the point of taking an arresting officer’s life if necessary.” Plummer v. State, 136 Ind. 306. This premise was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in the case: John Bad Elk v. U.S., 177 U.S. 529.

    • William Thornburg April 16, 2015, 1:49 am

      Yes, facts will speak for themselves, no conspiracy to that idea. Suspect did not have the right to resist arrest by “fight and flight”. Severe lack of knowledge in this area. Feel more compassion for the officer.

      • Stephen Hoevelman May 11, 2016, 1:25 am

        Damn, Thornburg, does spitting on the sidewalk call for deadly force in your mind? No one is above the law, not me, not you. But I don’t get to shoot you in the back for kicking a dent in my car and running away. In the day when “in fear for my life” has become the excuse of the day, no one has applied that to a back-shooter.

  • Bob April 13, 2015, 2:43 pm

    I blame the training. They need to improve…….a lot
    Only use deadly force. With deadly force. Not when someone is running away

    • Kivaari April 13, 2015, 3:45 pm

      Cops can use deadly force on fleeing suspects they believe are able and likely to use serious force. Garner v TENN. Don’t shoot when the suspects crime is not subject to the death sentence. Like a commercial burglary of an unoccupied building. Shoot if the crime(s) committed are “BARK” crimes. All must be FIRST DEGREE offenses of burglary, assault, rape and/or kidnapping. This was a bad shoot, but there is no premeditation to murder the suspect, just stop the guy that took his TASER.

      • Leadsender April 28, 2015, 12:36 am

        How can you say that the taser was taken when we saw what everybody believes that we say the officer pick up the taser and throw it down next to the body? Bottom line is that this was bad decision making by the office and a bad shoot. Even in the old western days; cowboys talked about the low down back shooting cowards who shot people in the back.

    • William Thornburg April 16, 2015, 1:43 am

      More a lack of education on the part of people. Individuals do not have a right to resist arrest by an officer of law enforcement.

  • John April 13, 2015, 10:11 am

    They will figure some way to justify what he did, lie and cover up. Law enforcement always finds an excuse for their blunders.

    • William Thornburg April 16, 2015, 1:37 am

      Who are they? Do you know about a proposed cover-up or have any ideas as to how facts will be relied upon, plus kept transparent?

  • Joe Bob April 13, 2015, 9:36 am

    Murder? Doesn’t that require premeditation? Seems like manslaughter, so perhaps the govt’s tactic to protect their own is to charge him with something they know won’t stick.

    Govt always protects govt.

    • Damien April 13, 2015, 3:42 pm

      No, murder doesn’t require premeditation. That’s why you have two separate charges, pre-meditated murder and murder. Unfortunately even though the worst part of this crime was caught on tape, nine times out of ten this officer will either ple – bargain for a type of manslaughter charge or be convicted of a type of manslaughter. Our countries law enforcement has taken on the idea that they can do what they want to do and get away with it, which unfortunately is the case now a days. Even with video cops are either not indicted, found not guilty of any type of crime or only loose their jobs. It’s a shame and hurts me to my heart to say that our current law enforcement has a mentality that when they hit the streets they act as if they are on a hunting trip and 9 out of 10 officers usually don’t even know the law they are enforcing. I have experienced this first hand. Being a black man with over 20 years of honorable service in the Army and being a Wounded Warrior. While visiting family in Baltimore, MD, I was accosted by a white male who assumed I cut in front of his wife to get gas. This individual began acting irate/road rage, came up on the passenger side of my vehicle. He began to verbally assault me which I ignored/ then attempted to vandalize my vehicle by punching and kickicking the passenger door. I ignored all of this until he reached inside my vehicle and attempted to open my passenger door. At which time I took action and exited my vehicle, being disable and requiring a cane to walk with. Based on our sizes, he outweighed me by at least ed 75 pounds. I exited my vehicle and moved to the rear of my vehicle and pulled out one of my knives at which point the individual began coming at me. At this point and time there was only him and myself in the confrontation, so I dropped my cane pulled a second knife. At this point and time his wife jumped out of the vehicle and stood in between us and began yelling for help stating that I was pulling a knives out on her. The male stated that she should move because he was getting his gun. I informed him that he would not make it back to his car. His wife then told her husband not to get his gun because she was calling 911. At this point I put both of my knives in my glove box and began inspecting my car door which had some major damages. At this point about 5 police cars arrived, and split us into two groups. I fully cooperated with the officers informing them that my knives were in the glove box along with my pistol which I had a CWCP for. I was placed in handcuffs and given the third degree while the other individual was aloud to sit in his vehicle with no handcuffs. Nor was the other persons vehicle searched for any type of weapons and they were sent on there way. I remained in handcuffs in the back of the officers patrol car while they thoroughly check/inspected my vehicle from top to bottom even though I had informed of my weapons and provided a copy of my CWCP, drivers license and military ID card. Once they finished checking my car, I was aloud to exit the officers car, but remained in cuffs while I was aloud to show them the damages done to my vehicle. At this time I was asked if I wanted to press charges to the other individual involved, but was warned that if I did press charges that I would be arrested and booked that night and the other person would be sent a citation in the mail. I could not believe what I was hearing and began questioning the officers as to why things were handled the way they were. Why I was the only person placed in handcuffed and placed in a squad car, why was my vehicle was the only vehicle checked even though I informed them of what weapons were legally in my car and where they were. I was then informed that the officers did not have time to answer my questions and I was reminded that I was back stateside and not in a combat zone. I was then informed again that I needed to decide if I wanted to press charges at which time if I did then my questions would be answered while I was being booked downtown for pulling my knives out on some own and waving a fire arm around. Even though the other individuals did not know I had a fire arm in my vehicle and that they were the ones talking about pulling a fire arm out. At that point in time I informed the officers that I was unsure if I wanted to press charges but I would like a copy of the incident report and would like to have the badge numbers of all officers involved and I wanted the name and a phone number for the patrol supervisor. I was then informed that I was being a smart ass and was acting as if I wanted to be booked on the previously stated charges and a few more that they could add on which would definitely result in me loosing my CWCP for Maryland. I was then asked again asked if I wanted to go on my way and be done with the situation. At which time I told them I did not want to be booked but I needed a copy of the report for my car insurance. I was then informed that I had to wait 3 working days to get a copy of the report but it wouldn’t do me no good because I was the one at fault. I was then giving my items back and informed that if I had another run in with the police while I was visiting Baltimore that I would be arrested. Fortunately for me I had my telephone on record in my shirt pocket. When I filed my complaint I was informed that I could not use the recording as evidence because I didn’t ask permission to record the incident, but my insurance company used it and I did not have to pay any out of pocket expenses to get my car fixed. This is just an example of a run in with the police.

      • Eric Holder April 15, 2015, 10:05 pm

        I was not there to see it for myself but I do not doubt your account. It is sad that people go ballistic over things like this. I always act like gentleman even with nit wits. I however try to be prepared. Not surprised because I worked with cops in the 14th District in Philadelphia who would say “I want to get one tonight” when I was working with a partner. This was no very often. They were talking about shooting a black person. I could tell you some things indeed, Godspeed my friend.

        • William Thornburg April 16, 2015, 3:30 pm

          I certainly hope that you are not the “Eric Holder”. Not only is this off topic, it flies in the face of clarity and resolve. I am 72 years of age and survived many battles standing up for things to get better for all. If you are saying that this sort of thing occurs to black people only, you are locked-up in your own chains.

      • William Thornburg April 16, 2015, 1:31 am

        Regret learning about that incident, but I would rather be you than those bottom feeders. As a Caucasian, I can recall 9 unfortunate happenings causing me great anguish. I’m glad now that I adopted the “eat-crow now” idea for tomorrow, after digestion, it wasn’t so bad. Kind regards and best of luck in your future.

        • Dutro April 16, 2015, 5:46 pm

          Damien’s experience shows that he shouldn’t have to rely on luck when facing police accusations, coercion, and use of force. The police should supply self-restraint and genuine justice.

      • mtman2 June 23, 2017, 12:27 pm

        Sounds like the other guy or wife was related to someone there or on the town board etc
        That’s why they just wanted the situation to just disappear.
        Just my take on how it was handled…

    • William Thornburg April 16, 2015, 1:21 am

      Some serious insight here. Guess someone should be there since gov’t is determined by authority given to it by voters. Do voters fail to do their homework before voting?

  • RD April 13, 2015, 8:31 am

    Because he was a cop, he will be placed in PC (protective custody) He will not eat, shower or socialise with other inmates. He will also most likely be put on a suicide watch.

  • Todd April 13, 2015, 8:20 am

    This is a terrible act and brings a dark reality into light about some law enforcement individuals behavior of being above the law. I strongly supoort body cameras now more than ever. It’s a two way street everyone. The camera may not tell the complete truth but it tells a side that neither the victim or the perpetrator rarely reveals.

    • William Thornburg April 16, 2015, 1:16 am

      Good idea for cameras plus sound

  • Abner T Yokum April 13, 2015, 7:58 am

    The only solution… accountability… and from both side of the equation. The black population cannot defend the actions of scofflaws, and the boys in blue cannot defend obvious civil liberties violations. Those who do lose ALL respect from the other side… and deserve to.

    • Dutro April 14, 2015, 12:55 pm

      This officer was concerned only with his macho self-image and emarrasment in front of his department. The attitude is, “If you can’t bring ’em in, bring ’em down no matter what they’ve done.” Ferguson, Cleveland, NYC, etc. They know their excuses will be accepted by local prosecutors.

    • William Thornburg April 16, 2015, 1:13 am

      These occurrences happen to Caucasians, no one has the civil liberty of fighting off law enforcement while being arrested.

      • Dutro April 16, 2015, 2:25 pm

        So, because a man resists arrest, lethal force is justified because he is running in the opposite direction at a distance of thirty feet away? Or because a child fails to drop a fake gun? Or because a man continues to struggle as he’s being choked to death?

        • William Thornburg April 16, 2015, 3:21 pm

          You appear to be off topic. The suspect was 50 years of age and had sufficient time to know the risks associated with resisting an arrest.

          • Dutro April 16, 2015, 5:24 pm

            Not off topic, unless you believe that resisting arrest for any offense – no matter how minor – justifies lethal force.

          • Dutro April 16, 2015, 7:17 pm

            Not off topic, unless you believe that law enforcement may legally use lethal force no matter how minor the offense, no matter that the suspect is not threatening the life of the officer, or no matter that the suspect does not pose a threat of violence to others. See Tennessee v. Garner.

  • Milt Farrow April 13, 2015, 7:24 am

    This is more the fault of the Feds ( Pentagon and the DOD and H.S) giving local police battle grade war weapons for local police work. ( whom are we kidding) the Feds were going to use them as a buffer with 4.3 trillion dollars worth of material
    like Grenade Launchers and Apache Helicopters ( 7)- As well encouraging the cops to hire the worst of the worst and this is what we get. Well they are going to get citizen review boards many with “firepower to take them off the job”

    • Kivaari April 13, 2015, 3:30 pm

      So the cops pistol is some kind of super military weaponry? If you notice he fired 8 shots, so it might as well have been a M1911 with a 7 round magazine. I didn’t see the cop using a M14 or M16, nor driving an armored car or throwing hand grenades. So, Where is the special military gear?

    • Kivaari April 13, 2015, 3:33 pm

      Odd, I saw the video and it appears the cop used a conventional handgun, firing 8 rounds. Where was all the excess military gear. What, no armored car, grenade launcher, M14, M16, no AH64, just a common pistol.

    • William Thornburg April 16, 2015, 1:06 am

      Did not know that the Feds hire local police

  • joe citizen April 9, 2015, 10:51 pm

    some one should give that cop a 30 second head start and fire 8 shots at him thinking he is above the law have fun getting raped in prison you stupid pig !

    • William Thornburg April 16, 2015, 1:03 am

      some one should give you a police person’s position to uphold the laws of our land for a period have fun holding on to your mojo enjoy the education

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