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Civil rights protests in North Charleston following fatal shooting of Walter Scott

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By Sarah Taylor  with The Post and Courrier, Reuters
Civil rights protests in North Charleston following fatal shooting of Walter Scott

A protest has taken place in North Charleston following the fatal shooting of a black man by a white police officer.

Civil rights activists organised the demonstration, which took place days after 50-year-old Walter Scott was killed in the South Carolina city.

The incident has further provoked tensions over race relations between US police officers and African Americans.

FBI investigation

The FBI and US Justice Department have opened an investigation into the incident, leading to police officer Michael Slager, 33, being charged with murder.

A video of the shooting was taken by a bystander. It appears to show a brief scuffle between the two men, before Slager fires eight shots into Scott’s back as he runs away from the policeman. Once the victim is on the ground, the officer handcuffs him.

Slager originally stopped Scott for driving with a broken brake light, police said.

According to a police report, the officer told colleagues the suspect had taken his taser gun from him. Footage does not show the initial encounter between the two men, however later on Scott does not appear to be armed.

Following the handcuffing, Slager is seen walking back to the area from which he originally opened fire. He appears to pick something up, return to where Scott is lying, and drop the object near to his feet.

Prior accusations

Local news outlet The Post and Courrier reports there was a family court warrant out for Scott’s arrest on the day he was killed. Scott’s arrest history mostly shows he was in contempt of court charges for failing to pay child support, although there was also one account of a violation stemming from an assault and battery charge in 1987, according to the newspaper.

The paper also reported that Slager had been accused in 2013 of shooting a man with a stun gun without cause. However, he was cleared of wrongdoing and had not previously been disciplined by the department.