Amsterdam News Staff

Citizens mobilized and rallied Wednesday morning in North Charleston, S.C. in outrage over yet another shooting of an unarmed Black man.

A white police officer is being charged with murder after he is seen on video shooting the man in the back after a traffic stop.

The Rev. Al Shaprton kicked off his National Action Network convention early Wednesday, the day after the video surfaced. He called the killing “senseless” and applauded North Charleston’s swift action on the case.

“When a Black man is stopped for a broken taillight and ends up being shot multiple times in the back, it is yet another reminder that we need a national strategy to implement real and meaningful police reform now,” Sharpton said. “We simply can’t rely on citizens with video cameras to make sure justice is served.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio also commented on the shooting.

“You know, we find out, of course, as we always do, here’s a human being with a family, Coast Guard veteran, and that just makes it all the more painful,” he said “But in this case, as I said, that despite the pain, the authorities in South Carolina have really acted in a very commendable manner. And I think that’s sending a powerful message.”

Reports indicate the incident took place Saturday, when 50-year-old Walter Scott was hit by five bullets as he ran away from officer Michael T. Slager, who fired the shots.

The three-minute video shows a scuffle between Slager and Scott and several objects falling to the ground. After Scott runs away, Slager tried to Taser Scott but failed. He then drew his weapon and fired eight shots at Scott when the man was approximately 10 feet away from him.

Scott is a father of four and served in the U.S. Coast Guard. His family said at a press conference they are thankful the incident was caught on video. The person who captured the footage has not been identified.

“From the beginning … all we wanted was the truth,” said Anthony Scott, the victim’s older brother. “Through this process, we’ve received the truth. … We can’t get my brother back, and my family is in deep mourning because of that.”

Approximately 45 people reportedly participated in a protest Wednesday morning at North Charleston City Hall.

Slager, 33, who has be dismissed from the North Charleston police force, was a patrolman first class, having served on the force for five years. Two prior complaints were filed against him, according to reports. In 2013, a man claimed Slager shot him with a Taser for no reason. In another incident, Slager allegedly pulled a man out of his house in only his boxer shorts and used a Taser on him.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said in a statement that Slager was booked at the Charleston County Detention Center. If convicted, he could face the death penalty or 30 years to life in prison.

Bond was was denied for Slager Tuesday, and his lawyer has since dropped him as a client.

“As a result of that video and bad decisions made by our officer, he will be charged with murder,” North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said at a news conference.

North Charleston’s police department has been the subject of criticism because of the way Black citizens are treated. Numbers indicate that although the city is 45 percent Black, only 18 percent of the 343 officers on the force are Black.

South Carolina NAACP State Conference President Dr. Lonnie Randolph Jr. said in a statement that he was pleased by how quickly the officer was charged when the video was released.

“The rapid response by law enforcement in this matter does bring some level of comfort to the community in the hopes that the judicial process will render an adequate measure of justice for the victim,” he said. “We will continue to monitor the investigation and resulting litigation as it moves through the courts.”

In a statement, the U.S. Department of Justice said the South Carolina Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened an investigation concurrent with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division investigation.

“The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and the South Carolina U.S. Attorney’s Office will work with the FBI in the investigation,” the DOJ said in a statement. “The Department of Justice will take appropriate action in light of the evidence and developments in the state case.”