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U.S. Police Abuse – Walter Scott

On April 4, 2015, officer Michael Slager pulled over 50-year-old Walter Scott because of a broken brake light in North Charleston, South Carolina. Slager asked for Scott’s license, and while he was running a report, Scott open his car door and ran. His family suspects he fled because he owed thousands of dollars in child support.

Feidin Santana was walking to work when he saw a scuffle between a white officer and a black man, and hit record on his cell phone. His 3-minute video captures Slager shoot Scott eight times in the back as Scott runs away. After Scott falls to the ground, Slager approaches him, telling him to put his hands behind his back, and handcuffs him. Slager returns to the scene of the scuffle, picks up an object, and places it near Scott’s body before backup arrives.

This video demonstrates the power that Santana’s video had in exposing the murder, in part because it was strategically released to the media and advocacy groups. Learn more about the case here.

This is part of a WITNESS Media Lab project examining the impact of video in documenting police misconduct in the U.S. and its role in achieving justice and accountability.