US authorities have charged a local policeman with murder after a graphic video emerged of him appearing to shoot a 50-year-old unarmed black man eight times.
The white officer, Michael T. Slager, 33, claimed that he had feared for his life in a scuffle over his taser with Walter L. Scott, 50, in North Charleston, South Carolina.
Events come just months after highly contentious police shootings elsewhere in America.
Timeline (minute and second timings are related to this video recording) of events:
SATURDAY: Scott is stopped by Slager for a broken taillight on his Mercedes-Benz sedan on Saturday afternoon at approximately 9.30am.
According to Slager, Scott moved away from his car and the South Carolina officer pursued him on foot. At this point, events were recorded by a passer-by’s camera phone.
0:00 Raised voices can be heard, although the camera does not show who they belong to.
0:18 Scott and Slager can be seen in the same frame, before the officer fumbles, and an item appears to fall to the ground.
0:19 Scott runs from the officer, who draws his gun.
0:20 The first gunshot is heard, as Scott continues to move away from the officer. Seven more can be heard in quick succession.
0:23 Scott falls to the ground, approximately 15 to 20 ft from the officer. He appears to clutch his front and side as he crumples to the ground.
At this point Slager reportedly made a call to police command, telling them: “Shots fired and the subject is down. He took my Taser.” Although the video shows Slager speaking into his mike, it is difficult to hear what is said.
0:40 Slager reaches Scott, who appears prostrate on the ground. He tells him repeatedly: “Put your hands behind your back”.
0:49 Scott does not move. The officer places Scott’s hands behind his back before walking away from the man towards the scene of the original scuffle.
1:12 Another officer appears on the scene. Slager picks up the an unidentified object dropped during the initial scuffle and walks back over to where Scott is lying.
Meanwhile, the second officer says: “Someone grab me a kit. Over behind the pawn shop.” The officer stands by Scott’s head but does not appear to move him.
1:37 Slager reappears by Scott and appears to drops an object by the man. By this point, Scott has been face down on the ground for over a minute.
1:48 The two officers can just be heard talking, although the camera phone does not pick up their individual remarks.
1:55 The second officer, who puts on blue medical gloves, bends down and attends to Scott, 1.21s since Scott first fell to the ground.
2:42 Both officers stand up are on their radios, directing backup – “Did you see my car? Next to Gerald’s. We’re behind the pawn shop.” – to their location.
3:14 Slager can be seen checking the pulse of Scott as ambulance sirens are heard in the background.
Another video shows a number of other officers – one with a medical kit – in attendance, but the officer in question does not perform CPR on Scott as shown in the New York Times' video.
Paramedics pronounce Scott dead at the scene.
Initial media reports, released Saturday afternoon, characterise the fatal shooting as the result of the scuffle described by Slager.
TUESDAY: The passer-by shows the video to Scott’s family, who hand it to the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED). City officials view the video. Media organisations, including the Courier and Post and national newspaper The New York Times also see the video.
WEDNESDAY: North Charleston police chief Eddie Driggers announce Slager has been arrested and charged with murder, at approximately 10.30pm last night.
Shortly afterwards the Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) and the US Justice Department announce a separate investigation in the events surrounding the video.
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