South Carolina Officer charged with murder fired; Will remain in - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

South Carolina Officer charged with murder fired; Will remain in jail

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Police officer Michael Slager makes his first court appearance on Tuesday Police officer Michael Slager makes his first court appearance on Tuesday
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    Tuesday, April 7 2015 8:42 PM EDT2015-04-08 00:42:31 GMT
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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - The North Charleston officer being charged with murder after shooting a man running away from him has been fired. 

North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey made the announcement Wednesday morning during a news conference.

Video of the shooting taken by an unidentified witness shows Officer Michael Slager shooting eight times into the back of 50-year-old Walter Scott on April 4, 2015 following a traffic stop. Police Chief Eddie Driggers said he was "sickened" watching the video and chose to fire Slager. 

Slager's attorney had released a statement Monday saying the officer felt threatened and that Scott was trying to grab the officer's stun gun.

Mayor Summey said Slager's wife is eight months pregnant and the city will cover her insurance until after the baby is born. 

Protesters gathered outside of North Charleston City Hall on Wednesday, passing out signs reading "Back turned, don't shoot," "Black lives matter," and "Stop racist police terror." 

"We have to take a stand on stuff like this," the 23-year-old Braye said. "We can't just shake our heads at our computer screens. This needs to be the last case."

Also on Wednesday, Scott's parents appeared on morning TV shows. Scott's dad said the officer "looked like he was trying to kill a deer running through the woods."

Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon was also present at the protest, saying he wanted to meet with community members and keep an eye on the peaceful protest. Cannon said he understand that heavy-handed police tactics of the past few decades have fostered mistrust of law enforcement, but he also thinks investigators would have seen through Slager's lies without the video, but he believes the video made their job easier. 

The video shows Scott and Slager having brief contact with each other, then Scott is seen running away. As he is running away, Slager fires eight shots at Scott, who then falls to the ground. Slager can be seen walking towards Scott on the ground while notifying dispatch that shots had been fired and Scott took his taser.

"223 Dispatch, shots fired. Subject is down. He grabbed my taser," Slager tells dispatch.

Slager then handcuffs Scott while saying "put your hands behind your back." 

A voice asks if everyone at the scene is "10-4," a radio code often used by officers to mean "OK."

Slager responds: "Everyone is 10-4, except for the suspect. ... Gunshot wound, it looks like, to the chest, to the right side. Unresponsive. ... Another gunshot wound to the buttocks."

Once handcuffs are on Scott, Slager is seen jogging back to the spot he fired shots from, picking something up off of the ground and then walking back over to Scott. By this time, another officer had arrived on scene. 

"Once that video came out things moved quickly," Cannon said. 

The FBI and Justice Department's Civil Rights Division are investigating the shooting. 

The Justice Department spent months investigating the shooting of Michael Brown last summer in Ferguson, Missouri, but ultimately declined to prosecute Darren Wilson, the officer involved in that case.

Federal prosecutors have had an easier time making cases against officers who use force as an act of retribution or who can make no reasonable claim that their life was in jeopardy when they took action.

Mayor Keith Summey said the city had already ordered 101 body cameras for its officers, and after the shooting, he decided to order 150 more.

It may take some time before the cameras are being used. Summey said officers have to be trained and a policy for the use of the cameras must be written and approved by lawyers.

A judge ruled on Tuesday that Slager be held in jail without bail. If convicted, Slager could face 30 years to life in prison. 

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