Walter Lamer Scott: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

A white South Carolina police officer has been charged with murder after a graphic video emerged of him shooting motorist Walter Lamer Scott in the back as he tried to flee.

Patrolman 1st Class Michael Slager, 33, opened fire on father-of-four Scott, 50, as he was running away from him in a park in North Charleston, South Carolina.

The video footage, obtained by the Charleston Post and Courier, shows the end of the confrontation between the two men on Saturday.

The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation into the incident. The Scott family also said on Tuesday night that they will be filing a civil lawsuit. They were unhappy at the way the police department sought to defend the police officer until the video was unveiled and praised the person who took the footage for coming forward.

Here’s what you need to know about Scott and the police shooting:

1. The Officer Shot Scott 5 Times in the Back as Scott Ran Away

Michael Slager's mugshot. (Charleston County Sheriff's Office)

Michael Slager’s mugshot. (Charleston County Sheriff’s Office)

Slager is shown on the video opening fire as Scott starts to run away from him.

With Scott about 10 feet away, Slager draws his gun and fires seven times in quick succession. He pauses briefly and shoots one more time as his target staggers and slumps to the grass.

The officer can be heard on the tape yelling at the fallen Scott: “Put your hands behind your back.”

According to the Charleston Post and Courier, Scott died at the scene. The coroner’s office said in a statement that Scott was shot five times, according to Scott’s family.

2. Scott Was Wanted for Back Child Support & Was Afraid of Going to Jail

Charleston County Sheriff’s Major Eric Watson said on Tuesday that Scott was wanted for arrest on a Family Court warrant.

Chris Stewart, a lawyer representing Scott’s family, indicated that the warrant, for back child support, prompted Scott to run away from Slager after Slager pulled him over because of a broken taillight.

”He has four children; he doesn’t have some type of big violent past or arrest record,” Stewart told the New York Times. “He had a job; he was engaged. He had back child support and didn’t want to go to jail for back child support.”

Scott was driving a Mercedes Benz when he was stopped by Slager because of the broken taillight, police said. When Scott tried to run away, he was chased by the officer into a grassy knoll, where there was a struggle and Slager fired his stun gun.

Video shows Scott then running away and Slager shooting him in the back eight times after he’d gotten away.

The Supreme Court has ruled that an officer may use deadly force against a fleeing suspect only when there is probable cause that he “poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.”

Dispatch audio, which you can listen to above, captured the incident, which begins at about the 7:30 mark of the 30-minute recording as Slager calls in a traffic stop.

Slager can be heard at about the 10:35 mark of the recording calling dispatch to announce he’s in a foot chase, describing the suspect as black in a green shirt and blue pants. The dispatcher then repeats his description and calls for radio silence other than transmissions related to the chase.

At about 11:05 of the recording, another officer says he’s in route to join the chase. Slager then tells the other officers of his new location and can be overheard telling someone to “get down on the ground.”

At 12:27 (9:38 a.m.), as the other officers try to find Slager, he says, “shots fired. Subject is down. He grabbed my Taser.”

Slager then says a minute later that he needs his vehicle secured. He says the suspect has gun shot wounds to the chest, thigh and buttocks and is unresponsive. He tells the dispatcher the scene, behind a pawn shop in a field, is secure.

Another officer then arrives and confirms the injuries to the victim. He then begins to provide first aid, including chest compressions. An EMS unit arrives at the scene at about the 19:43 mark of the tape, about six minutes after Slager called in the shooting.

3. Scott Was a Father of 4 & Coast Guard Veteran

Undated photo of Walter Lamar Scott

Undated photo of Walter Lamar Scott (ABC)

Scott was a father of four who served in the Coast Guard for four years in the 1980s, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Anthony Scott, Walter’s brother, told the Washington Post: “All we wanted was the truth, and through the process we’ve received the truth. I don’t think that all police officers are bad cops, but there are some bad ones out there.”

Anthony Scott said he last saw his brother three weeks ago at a family oyster roast. “We hadn’t hung out like that in such a long time,” Scott said in an interview with the Times. “He kept on saying over and over again how great it was.”

4. The Officer Said he Felt ‘Threatened’ by Scott

North Charleston Police Department

North Charleston Police Department

Slager said he feared for his life because Scott took his Taser gun in a scuffle after he was pulled over in a traffic stop on Saturday, reported the New York Times.

However, Slager’s account was called into question after the video taken by a passer-by appears to show him shooting Scott in the back.

Wires, which carry the stun gun’s electrical current, appear to be attached to Scott’s clothing as he starts to run.

“When you’re wrong, you’re wrong,” Mayor Keith Summey said of the shooting during a news conference. “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.”

5. The Only Accusation of Violence Against Scott Was a 1987 Assault & Battery Charge



Scott had been arrested about 10 times, reported the Charleston Post and Courier but mostly for failure to pay child support or failure to show up in court.

He was arrested in 1987 on an assault and battery charge and convicted in 1991 of possession of a bludgeon.

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