photodune-3320259-shoot-xsNorth Charleston, SC- In an almost unprecedented move, police in North Charleston have charged one of their own with murder after video surfaced, showing him gunning down a man as he ran—slowly—away from police.
The incident took place in North Charleston over the weekend when Officer Michael Thomas Slager pulled over a motorist for a broken tail light. The motorist, 50-year-old Walter Scott, had an altercation with the officer and began to run away from because he had misdemeanor warrants for failing to pay child support. Slag then used deadly force and shoot Scott in the back eight times to keep him from fleeing, according to the Washington Post.
Officer Slager then called dispatch, notifying them of the shooting. He had his version of events that led to the shooting, stating that the feared for his life. Slager may have gotten away with the shooting if there wasn’t video footage of the incident which contradicted the officer’s initial report.
The video footage, according to the Washington Post, shows Scott and Slager briefly wrangling over the officer’s Taser. An unarmed Scott then turns to run away from the officer, he seemingly gets hit by Slager’s Taser and continues to run slowly run away from. When Scott is about 20 feet away, Slager shots him in the back 8 times and he goes down. Slager then handcuffs him while he is lying face down on the ground, dead or near dead.
Police officers are rarely prosecuted for shooting or killing a suspect because in many cases, an officer’s actions are justified. In this case however, it appears as though Officer Slager’s use of deadly force was not justified. The decision to prosecute Slager for the shooting is a rare one and hopefully will send a message to police that using deadly force without justification won’t be tolerated.
A 1985 Supreme Court decision for Tennessee v. Garner, established that an officer is only allowed to use deadly force if the fleeing suspect presents a danger to the officer or bystanders. That means unless the a person is brandishing a firearm or running to detonate a bomb it us unconstitutional and illegal for
We don’t want to demonize police because there overwhelming majority are good people who take the oath “To Protect and Serve” seriously. But it is officers like Slager who sully the profession and foster of a culture of mistrust among citizens and police.
This wasn’t an accidental shooting, but the Scott’s family still has the right to seek compensation from the North Charleston police department. In many cases. police officers are not held criminally accountable for deadly shootings, but they can be held accountable in civil court through a personal injury or wrongful death suit.
L. Chris Stewart, an attorney representing Scott’s family, said they plan in pursuing civil action against Officer Slager. A wrongful death claim will allow Scott’s family to recover damages for their pain and suffering and loss of companionship.
The personal injury lawyers at USAttorneys will help victims of an accidental or unjustified shooting get the compensation they deserve for their pain and suffering along with any medical bills or funeral expense they incur.  Our accident attorneys know that sometimes a civil case is the only way for a family to get justice when their loved ones are wrongfully gunned down.

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