It starts out as a routine traffic stop.
But newly-released pictures, filmed from the dashboard of policeman Michael Slager’s patrol car, show the moments before the South Carolina officer chased and fatally shot the unarmed black man in the vehicle he had pulled over.
The video clip, which lasts four minutes in total, shows Slager, 33, approaching a black Mercedes-Benz and asking the driver, Walter Scott, for his license and proof of insurance.
Slager tells Scott, 50, he was stopped for a broken tail light. A passenger is also seen sitting in the car.
The driver and officer have a brief exchange and the officer returns to his patrol car.
After about two minutes, Scott gets out of the Mercedes and signals to the officer, who says: “You got to stay in the car.”
Scott gets back into the vehicle but about 20 seconds later, he emerges again and takes off running.
Unlike an earlier bystander’s video, the new footage, released by South Carolina Police, does not show the gunshots being fired in this, the latest killing in the US of a black man by a white officer.
“We are again experiencing the results of a great divide in America. Not simply a divide of race but one of perceived power and intent,” said Representative Carl Anderson, Chairman of the South Carolina Black Caucus.
Now on a murder charge and dismissed from his job, it has been revealed that Slager had been accused of using excessive force in a previous case – and cleared of any wrongdoing.
Hours before the second video was aired, another South Carolina man emerged to say that Scott’s shooting vindicated his own complaint of abuse against Slager nearly two years ago that was dismissed after a brief investigation.
“If they had really listened to me and investigated, then that man would probably have been alive because he wouldn’t be an officer in the field,” Mario Givens said at a press conference with his lawyer, who said his client planned a lawsuit over the September 2013 case.
Civil rights leaders have urged the South Carolina legislature to “stop dragging its feet” on a bill that would require all officers to wear cameras on their uniforms, echoing earlier calls by the White House.
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