CHARLESTON, South Carolina - A white South Carolina police officer has been charged with murder over the shooting death of a black man who appeared to be fleeing from him, local authorities said on Tuesday, with the FBI and the US Justice Department announcing a separate probe into the case.
A video of the Saturday incident, showing North Charleston police officer Michael Slager shooting 50-year-old Walter Scott, was viewed by state investigators, and a decision was made to charge Slager with murder, North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said at a news conference. "When you're wrong, you're wrong," Summey told reporters."If you make a bad decision, I don't care if you're behind the shield or just a citizen on the street, you have to live by that decision." The incident began after Scott was pulled over for a broken taillight, local media reported.
A video of the encounter published by the New York Times shows a brief scuffle between Slager and Scott before the latter begins running away.
The video, which appears to be recorded by a bystander, then shows the officer firing several shots at Scott, who falls to the ground. Scott does not appear to be armed while fleeing from Slager.
The incident comes at a time of tension over the deadly use of force by US police, particularly by white police officers against black men, including Michael Brown, 18, who was shot and killed by a white police officer last year in Ferguson, Missouri, sparking nationwide protests.
The federal probe will be handled by the US Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and the South Carolina US Attorney's Office together with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Justice Department said.