South Carolina Senator, Governor Condemn Police Shooting

CNN/ Newswire | 4/8/2015, 9:31 a.m.
Statewide elected officials in South Carolina quickly condemned Tuesday the shooting of an apparently unarmed black man at the hands ...
North Charleston, South Carolina police officer Michael Thomas Slager has been charged with murder after video surfaced that appears to show him shooting an unarmed man who was running away. Slager, was arrested Tuesday, April 7, 2015, according to a statement from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. If found guilty of murder, Slager could face up to life in prison or death.

By Jeremy Diamond


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Statewide elected officials in South Carolina quickly condemned Tuesday the shooting of an apparently unarmed black man at the hands of a white police officer in the state.

Republican Sen. Tim Scott, who is also African-American, called the death "absolutely unnecessary and avoidable" in a posting on social media.

"After watching the video, the senseless shooting and taking of Walter Scott's life was absolutely unnecessary and avoidable. My heart aches for the family and our North Charleston community. I will be watching this case closely," Scott said in a message posted to Facebook and Twitter.

And Gov. Nikki Haley, also a Republican, called the shooting "not acceptable" and reassured her constituents that "the criminal judicial process will proceed fully" in a statement to local news station WBTV.

"We have many good law enforcement officers in the field. What happened in this case is not acceptable in South Carolina, nor is it reflective of our values or of the way most of our law enforcement officials act," Haley said in the statement. "This is a sad time for everyone in South Carolina, and I urge everyone to work together to help our community heal."

North Charleston police officer Michael Slager, who is white, was charged with murder Tuesday after shooting at Walter Scott eight times as Scott was running away during what started as a traffic stop Saturday.

Police officials charged Slager with murder after a witness submitted a video of the shooting, which shows Scott running away as Slager firing his gun eight times and fatally shooting Scott.

The incident comes on the heels of nationwide protests over police brutality and discrimination after several other unarmed black men were killed at the hands of police officers. But even those incidents also captured on video were not handled as swiftly by police and city officials as in this case.

Twelve-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by police officers who believed the toy gun Rice was holding was real. That shooting is still being investigated, and neither of the two police officers at the scene has been formally charged. And a grand jury cleared a white New York police officer in the killing of Eric Garner, an unarmed man who died after being placed in a choke-hold this summer.

The FBI is also investigating the South Carolina shooting.

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