Citizen films fatal police shooting with smartphone, officer charged with murder

officer-shooting
Captured on video by an anonymous source using a smartphone, 33-year-old police officer Michael T. Slager is now facing murder charges after seen firing eight times at a 50-year-old African-American man, Walter L. Scott, who was running away from the officer. The incident occurred on Saturday in North Charleston, South Carolina, specifically after a traffic stop related to a broken taillight on Scott’s Mercedes-Benz sedan.

In the video hosted by the New York Times, Scott is briefly seen wrestling an object out of Slager’s hand onto the grass before running away from the officer. The object in question was initially reported to be a taser. As Scott flees, Slager pulls out his firearm and quickly fires seven times towards Scott’s back, then slightly delays before firing an eighth shot that appears to make Scott fall down. According to Scott’s family, four of the eight bullets struck Scott in the back and a fifth bullet hit Scott’s ear.

At this point in the confrontation, Slager glances at the citizen shooting the video before using his radio to call in the shooting. Slager is seen screaming at Scott to put his hands behind his back before cuffing Scott. Slager then leaves to retrieve the object that fell on the ground earlier, but returns to Scott to toss the same object beside him. At the end of the first video, Slager is seen checking Scott’s pulse. A second follow-up video shows paramedics attempting to help Scott, but the 50-year-old Coast Guard veteran was declared dead at the scene.

slager-mug-shotSlager’s original account of the incident seems to contradict the video. Slager initially claimed that Scott stole the officer’s taser and ran away with it. If that was the object that Slager casually moved to Scott’s body, that would contradict that claim. In addition, Slager claimed that he “felt threatened” by Scott, even though Scott was attempting to flee rather than attacking Slager.

Due to the video evidence shot by the anonymous citizen, an arrest warrant was issued for Slager and the officer was taken into custody earlier today. Slager was denied bond earlier today, but only because the magistrate judge wasn’t authorized to set a bond for a murder charge. The 9th Circuit Solicitor’s Office will be handing the case. If convicted of the murder charge, Slager could face between 30 years to life in prison for his actions over the weekend.

In an effort to spur more citizen journalism, Councilwoman Dorothy Williams of Charleston encouraged citizens to continue filming these type of incidents. It’s possible that this incident could spur an expedited effort to equip all South Carolina police officers with wearable cameras. Of course, video recorded by those types of cameras could potentially be manipulated. One hypothetical option would be to utilize some form of cloud uploading technology for recorded video along with an independent review board that can oversee incidents that get called into question.

Speaking about the shooting, North Charleston Police Chief Eddie Driggers said “It’s been a tragic day for many, a tragic day for me. It is not reflective of this entire police department. One does not throw a blanket across the many.” Speaking about the fate of Slager, North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said “When you’re wrong, you’re wrong. If you make a bad decision, don’t care if you’re behind the shield or just a citizen on the street, you have to live by that decision.

Emerging Tech

China clones Sherlock Holmes of police dogs to create pack of cunning canines

Scientists in China have cloned the Sherlock Holmes of police sniffer dogs, with possible plans to mass produce it in the future. Here's why its creators think that's a great idea.
Movies & TV

These are the best movies on Hulu right now (March 2019)

From dramas to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (March 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Mobile

Apple iPad Air vs. iPad (2018): Which Apple tablet is right for you?

The new iPad Air replaces the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, but it doesn't pack quite the same punch. It is a fair bit cheaper, starting at $500, but it's a lot more expensive than Apple's 9.7-inch iPad which starts at $330. If you're shopping for…
Social Media

Facebook Messenger adds quoted replies to better organize group chats

Facebook is rolling out a feature that should help make group chats a whole lot more organized. The feature allows you to reply to specific messages within a group chat, so others will be able to tell what you're replying to.
Product Review

With the S10e and S10 Plus, do we really need the Samsung Galaxy S10?

The Galaxy S10 is the middle child in this year’s Galaxy S10 range, between the Galaxy S10e, and the Galaxy S10 Plus. There’s no striking reason to buy it, but it’s still an excellent phone you’ll be happy with.
Mobile

The 2018 iPad is often the best iPad for most people — and now it’s only $250

Apple may have recently taken the wraps off of a new iPad Air and iPad Mini, but it's still the standard iPad that is best for most people. Now, the standard iPad has gotten a pretty significant discount -- it's down from $330 to $250.
Photography

Looking to keep prying eyes at bay? Here's how to hide photos on your iPhone

People take tons of photos using their smartphones, but not all are meant to be shared or seen. Luckily, hiding photos on your iOS device is easy, whether you want to use built-in utilities or apps with added security.
Wearables

Fitbit Versa Lite tips and tricks to get started with your new smartwatch

Got your hands on a Fitbit Versa Lite? The smartwatch may be the pared down version of the more expensive Fitbit Versa, but there's still plenty for you to tweak in the settings. Here are our Fitbit Versa Lite tips and tricks.
Smart Home

Postmates now offers a way to get free delivery on meal orders

Postmates is offering customers the chance to order meals with free delivery. But you'll have to be cool with the idea of waiting a little longer, as the delivery driver will be carrying other meals for different customers.
News

Browse safely and securely with Opera’s unlimited VPN on Android

Opera has added a new VPN to its Android browser, offering an easy way to keep your privacy and data locked up solid, and with no limits on usage or cost, you can keep it on all the time.
Product Review

The new iPad Mini certainly isn’t a beauty, but it performs like a beast

Apple’s new iPad Mini has beastly performance, fluid iOS 12 software, and good battery life. It also looks like it came straight out of 2015, because the design hasn’t been changed. Here are our impressions of Apple’s new 7.9-inch…
Mobile

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks for the best portable chargers.