Michael Slager, the former South Carolina police officer who was fired and arrested after a bystander video captured him fatally shooting 50-year-old Walter Scott eight times in the back as the unarmed man was fleeing, has been indicted by a grand jury on a murder charge.
The incident occurred on April 4; the video became public on April 7, and immediately became symbolic of a political season in which the startling, frequently fatal violence shown by white police officers towards unarmed black citizens is finally emerging in the nation’s wider consciousness. According to the New York Times, Slager has been in jail since his arrest, with his lawyers making no request for bail. The Times also reports that Slager was involved in 19 “use-of-force episodes” during his time as a police officer, at least 14 of which concerned his Taser use, and that shooting Walter Scott was the only time Slager discharged his handgun while on patrol.
Both men, Scott and Slager, had previously been members of the United States Coast Guard. A trial date has not been set as of now. If Slager is convicted, he will face 30 years to life with no parole. Of the more than 400 police killings this year, only three have resulted in charges, reports the Washington Post; all of these cases involved video footage.
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Image via screengrab/Walter Scott’s family