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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A white former North Charleston police officer was indicted on a murder charge Monday in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man who was running away from the officer after a traffic stop.

The shooting April 4 was captured on video by a bystander and showed officer Michael Slager firing eight times as 50-year-old Walter Scott ran away. The shooting rekindled an ongoing national debate about the treatment of black suspects at the hands of white officers.

Slager was charged with murder by state law enforcement agents almost immediately after the video surfaced. Prosecutor Scarlett Wilson announced the indictment.

“The jury will make up its own mind after it sees the video and hears the other testimony,” Wilson said of Slager’s trial.

No trial date has been set.

Wilson said the state law enforcement agents had the video and could have shown it to the grand jury, but she is not sure if they did. In South Carolina, the investigating agency typically presents the case to a grand jury, not the prosecutor.

Wilson said earlier the death penalty does not seem to apply because there were no aggravating circumstances such as robbery or kidnapping as required under South Carolina law.

The 33-year-old Slager faces 30 years to life in prison if convicted. He has been jailed without bond since his arrest.

Slager told authorities that he fired his Taser at Scott as he ran, but the stun gun didn’t work. Then during a scuffle over the weapon, Slager said, he shot Scott with his handgun in self-defense. The video appeared to show the men briefly scuffling in a vacant lot, but it also shows Scott clearly running away when the officer starts firing his handgun.

Family members have said Scott may have started running after the traffic stop because he was fearful of returning to jail over about $18,000 he owed in late child-support payments.

As word of the shooting spread, many feared police would close the case without taking any action against the officer. But days later, the video shot by a man walking to work surfaced, and Slager was arrested, easing tensions in the community.

The cellphone video added fuel to the national debate about race and aggressive police tactics that intensified in August with the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. In that case, there was no video of the shooting and Officer Darren Wilson was not indicted.

In Baltimore, six officers were indicted in the death of Freddie Gray, who was critically injured during an arrest there and later died at a hospital.

In South Carolina, prosecutors have sought felony charges against Slager and two other officers in the past year for shooting at unarmed black men following traffic stops. Two of the men were killed, while a third was seriously injured.

None of the cases has gone to trial.

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3 thoughts on “Ex-SC Officer Michael Slager Indicted for Murder in Shooting of Black Man

  1. Specialty757,
    Very well said, and as always I enjoy reading your comments. They have always treated us like 2nd class citizens or less, if it’s possible. They are having their Heaven now because they are going to Bust Hell Wide Open! They are going to begging BF to forgive them and it will be to late!

  2. specialt757 on said:

    I have come to the conclusion that blacks will never be treated fairly in America. We are the ones that ALWAYS have to “comply” with all the laws, the written ones and the ones made up in someone’s mind. I’ve seen videos where white guys actually fight and kick the police officer’s ass and all they get is arrested and charged like the justice system allows. But if we even look like we are going to stand up for ourselves we get brutalized and cold blooded murdered.
    We always tell our children “just do what they say so you can live to see another day” That’s so unfortunately. Again and for the record, I don’t feel victimized as an individual but as a whole group or race, I’m included. I know how to fight battles without being physical and actually win the majority. So resisting arrest would not be something I would do. To challenge cops in anyway is signing your death sentence ESPECIALLY and specifically if you’re black.
    Whites in America will never see blacks as anywhere close to being equal to them, and that’s no matter how much money you have, ask Donald Sterlin. In their eyes we are just a bunch of n-words. If you can’t see that from the vast amount of videos showcasing this mentality then you have on blinders.

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