South Carolina Officer Indicted in Walter Scott Death

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South Carolina Officer Indicted in Walter Scott Death

White cop who shot dead unarmed black man during traffic stop may face 33 years to life if convicted of murder charges

Walter Scott was killed by a white police officer on April 3. (Photo: NY Daily News)

A grand jury has indicted a former police officer in North Charleston, South Carolina on murder charges in the case of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man shot dead by the officer during a traffic stop on April 4.

Scott's death was captured on video by a bystander. The footage—which emerged on April 7 and showed Officer Michael Slager, who is white, shooting Scott in the back as Scott ran away from him—helped propel the case to the forefront of the growing civil rights movement that is calling for an end to police brutality and racism.

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Slager was fired from the police force and arrested on murder charges on the day the video was released. The grand jury's decision to indict him on those charges was announced by the 9th Circuit Solicitor's Office on Monday.

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"The facts that were presented to us by [South Carolina Law Enforcement Division] warranted a Grand Jury," Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said at a news conference Monday morning.

If convicted, Slager could face 33 years to life in prison. No trial date has been set.

The footage directly contradicted Slager's account of the shooting. He told authorities that he had fired his Taser at the 50-year-old Scott as he ran, but that the stun gun failed to work, and that he had shot Scott in self-defense after a scuffle over his weapon. The video instead shows that Scott was running away from Slager, who then fired eight times at Scott's back.

As CBS News reports, "Despite quick action in charging Slager in the shooting death [of] Scott, there are still lingering questions about whether other officers on the scene did everything they could to save Scott's life."

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