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S.C. officer faces murder charge for shooting at fleeing man eight times

By Danielle Haynes

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C., April 7 (UPI) -- A North Charleston police officer was arrested Tuesday and charged with murder, accused of shooting a 50-year-old man in the back eight times as he ran away.

Patrolman 1st Class Michael Slager, 33, was booked into Charleston County Detention Center on one count of murder in the shooting death of Walter Scott.

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Scott died Saturday after Slager pulled him over for a traffic stop and discovered a warrant out for the man's arrest in family court. Slager initially said he followed protocol when he shot Scott, saying the man had grabbed his Taser.

Video of the incident obtained by the Charleston Post & Courier and The New York Times appears to paint a different picture.

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The video begins in the middle of the confrontation, showing Scott slapping at Slager's hands as unidentified objects fall to the ground. Scott then runs away from Slager with apparent Taser wires stretching from Scott to the officer's hands.

The officer then fires off seven rapid shots, pauses, then fires an eighth round at Slager, who then falls to the ground face first. Slager then appears to radio for help and handcuffs Scott.

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Once a second officer arrives, Slager can be seen picking up an item and dropping it next to Scott as he lays on the ground. It's unclear what that object is.

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Medical officials have yet to confirm how many of the bullets struck Scott.

North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said Slager made a "bad decision."

"When you're wrong, you're wrong," he said. "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."

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Police Chief Eddie Driggers called it a tragic day and broke into tears during a news conference Tuesday.

Chris Stewart, an attorney for Scott's family, told The Washington Post the family is grateful someone came forward with footage of the incident.

"They were sad," he said. "There is nothing that can bring their son and brother back, but they are relieved that charges were filed."

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The incident comes amid heightened scrutiny over law enforcement's use of excessive force, particularly with African-American suspects.

The shooting death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the chokehold death of unarmed black man Eric Garner in New York together prompted a wave of protests worldwide over police brutality and racial discrimination.

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