The mayor of North Charleston, South Carolina said Tuesday a police officer has been charged with murder for allegedly shooting a black man eight times in the back as he ran away. A video obtained by the New York Times shows Patrolman 1st Class Michael Thomas Slager shooting Walter Lamer Scott in the back as he ran away from the officer last weekend. Scott, who had been stopped for a broken taillight, had a Family Court warrant out for his arrest and ran before Slager, who is white, shot him. "The officer felt threatened when he fired," Scott's attorney told the newspaper. The video appears to show Slager dropping a stun gun behind Scott's body. Slager later said he feared for his life because Scott had taken his stun gun in a scuffle.
In a press conference on Tuesday night, Scott's brother, Anthony, said that Officer Slager's story about struggling over a Taser never sounded right. "My brother would never do that," he said. The family's attorney also told reporters that the family is planning on filing a civil lawsuit.
The state's Law Enforcement Division said it is investigating whether Slager acted lawfully. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the FBI, and the Justice Department are also investigating the shooting. The Supreme Court has ruled that a police officer may use deadly force against a suspect only when there is probable cause that he or she "poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others."