South Carolina police have shot 209 people in the last five years, report finds

In 209 shootings, only three police officers have been prosecuted

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The Independent US

A South Carolina police officer was charged with murder this week after a video surfaced of the officer firing eight shots at a fleeing black man named Walter Scott, who died. The murder charge was widely cheered by citizens and activists.

Now it’s becoming clear why.

While police-involved shootings are far from rare in South Carolina – 209 in the past five years, according to The State newspaper – the police involved in the shootings almost never get prosecuted.

Of the 209 people who were fired at by police in South Carolina in the last five years, 79 were killed -- or 37.8 per cent. The State could only find three police officers who were charged with a crime in any of the shootings -- or 1.4 per cent. Not a single police officer in South Carolina has been convicted, The State reported. The above figures do not include the shooting death of Mr Scott.

Michael Slager, the North Charleston police officer who has been charged with murder, appeared likely to avoid prosecution too, after he shot Mr Scott on Saturday. Mr Slager claimed that he had fired his weapon after a confrontation in which Mr Scott grabbed the officer’s taser and authorities initially sided with their man.

Then the video was released and showed that Mr Scott did not have the taser when he was shot. The witness who took the video disputes the claim that Mr Scott ever grabbed the taser.

Once the video surfaced, authorities had little choice but to charge Mr Slager with murder. He is being held without bond and has been fired from the police force.


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