NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A white South Carolina police officer who claimed he killed a black man in self-defense was swiftly charged with murder after a bystander’s video recorded him firing eight shots at the man’s back as he ran away. Government authorities sought Wednesday to contain the outrage as protests began.

 

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A white South Carolina police officer who claimed he killed a black man in self-defense was swiftly charged with murder after a bystander’s video recorded him firing eight shots at the man’s back as he ran away. Government authorities sought Wednesday to contain the outrage as protests began.

About 75 people gathered outside City Hall in North Charleston, led by a Black Lives Matter, a group formed after the fatal shooting of another black man in Ferguson, Missouri

“Eight shots in the back!” local organizer Muhiydin D’Baha hollered through a bullhorn, and the crowd yelled “In the back!” in response.

The video recorded by an unidentified bystander shows North Charleston Patrolman Michael Thomas Slager dropping his stun gun, pulling out his handgun and firing at Walter Lamer Scott from a distance as he runs away. The 50-year-old man falls after the eighth shot, fired after a brief pause.

The dead man’s father, Walter Scott Sr. said Wednesday that the officer “looked like he was trying to kill a deer running through the woods.” He also told NBC’s “Today Show” that his son may have tried to flee because he owed child support and didn’t want to go back to jail.

The video is “the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen,” said Judy Scott, the slain man’s mother, on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“I almost couldn’t look at it to see my son running defenselessly, being shot. It just tore my heart to pieces,” she said.

The bystander is assisting investigators after providing the video to Scott’s family and lawyers.

North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey announced the murder charge Tuesday, saying that “when you’re wrong, you’re wrong.” “When you make a bad decision, don’t care if you’re behind the shield or a citizen on the street, you have to live with that decision,” the mayor said.

Police initially released a statement that promised a full investigation but relied largely on the officer’s description of the confrontation, which began with a traffic stop Saturday as Slager pulled Scott over for a faulty brake light.

Slager’s then-attorney David Aylor released another statement Monday saying the officer felt threatened and fired because Scott was trying to grab his stun gun.

Aylor dropped Slager as a client after the video surfaced, and the officer, a five-year veteran with the North Charleston police, appeared without a lawyer at his first appearance Tuesday. He was denied bond and could face 30 years to life in prison if convicted of murder.

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