Like most people who've seen the video of police officer Michael Slager fatally shooting Walter Scott, who is believed to have been unarmed as he ran away from the officer, Sen. Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) is horrified but urging calm.
"The horrific video that came to light yesterday is deeply troubling. It is clear the killing of Walter Scott was unnecessary and avoidable, and my prayers are with the Scott family as they go through this ordeal. The swift action taken by [the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division] and the relevant authorities upon receiving the video shows the severity of this terrible event," the lawmaker said in a statement. "With several protests planned today, I join community leaders in North Charleston in calling for peace. I understand the hurt, the frustration and the anger many are feeling today. But violence solves nothing."
A video released by a witness to the New York Times shows that Slager shot Scott in the back eight times and then appeared to drop his Taser, which he accused the victim of taking, near Scott's body. Slager's attorney, David Aylor, initially defended him and said he fired at Scott because he felt threatened. But when the video surfaced, he dropped the police officer as a client. On Tuesday, North Charleston's Mayor Keith Summey announced Slager would be charged with murder.
Scott's family has also called for peaceful protests and said that the swift murder charge shows that justice is being served in large part because of the video, the Associated Press reports.
"What if there was no video? What if there was no witness, or hero as I call him, to come forward?" asked the family's attorney, L. Chris Stewart.
Follow Joyce Jones on Twitter: @BETpolitichick.
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