A 33-year old police officer from North Charleston, South Carolina was charged with the murder of 50-year-old Walter Scott on April 7. The incident rose to national notoriety after a video surfaced online that showed Officer Michael Slager shooting Scott in the back as he ran away from the officer.
The case sparked yet another national debate on police brutality in the United States, especially as it relates to racial dynamics. Because Slager is white and Scott is black, many critics have said the shooting is another example of how police in America are too quick to use force, especially with black suspects. They point to the menial nature of Scott’s offense (a broken tail light) and say there was no reason for the traffic stop to escalate to the level of violence it did, with Slager firing eight shots into Scott’s back.
Slager was quoted as saying he feared for his own safety. He claimed Scott took his Taser, even though the video shows otherwise.
Police brutality in the news
The shooting was the latest in a series of high-profile cases of police brutality against unarmed black men that have created a firestorm of protests and debate nationwide. Other highly publicized cases in New York City, Cleveland, Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri have dominated the news in recent months.
According to the 2010 census, North Charleston is the third-largest city in South Carolina, and African Americans account for about 47 percent of residents, with whites comprising about 37 percent. However, the city’s police department is approximately 80 percent white, according to the most recent data available.
If you have been a victim of police brutality, work with the skilled New York attorneys at Rubenstein & Rynecki to explore your legal options. Call us today at (718) 522-1020 or contact us online to set up an appointment.