Footage taken from inside the car of the South Carolina police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man shows that moments before the shooting, the man ran away from a traffic stop after briefly interacting with the officer.
This footage, captured by the dashboard camera inside the North Charleston police car, was released by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the agency investigating the shooting.
While it does not provide another direct view of the shooting, which was recorded by a bystander’s cellphone on Saturday morning, it does provide a new glimpse of the brief moments before Michael Slager, a white North Charleston police officer, fired a series of shots at the back of a fleeing Walter Scott.
The new footage captured what appears to be a relatively routine traffic stop that, within minutes, ends with Slager shooting Scott out of this camera’s view. The shooting was recorded on the cellphone of a bystander, footage that was publicly released Tuesday and led authorities to arrest Slager, charge him with murder and fire him from the police force.
Slager is seen in the new video standing at the driver’s side window of a Mercedes-Benz for a little more than a minute. The officer explains that he pulled over the car because one of its brake lights was out. Scott then says that he has not formally bought the car yet, but adds that he is going to be buying it Monday.
A short time after the two men finish talking and Slager walks away from the car, Scott is seen opening his door and standing up before Slager orders him to stay in the car. Scott gets back inside and sits down, but about 20 seconds later, he opens the door and runs away from both vehicles.
Slager is heard on the radio calling in a description of Scott. Seconds later, Slager is heard yelling out: “Taser, Taser, Taser!” While the audio is hard to fully discern, due to the music playing inside Slager’s car and the rustling sounds heard from Slager, what sound like gunshots ring out seconds later.
A little less than two minutes after Slager first walked up to the Mercedes-Benz, approaching Scott at the window, the officer is heard shouting, “Hands behind your back,” and the only clear sounds heard for the remaining minute of the footage come from the music playing inside the police car.
In the radio transmission Slager made immediately after the shooting, the officer, breathing heavily, is heard saying: “Shots fired. Subject is down. He grabbed my Taser.”
Slager has not offered any comment, on his own or through an attorney, since he was arrested. The attorney who had represented him in the aftermath of the shooting told The Post minutes before the video was made public that he was no longer representing him. Slager is now represented by another attorney, who released a statement Thursday morning, before the video was released, saying that his firm had begun its own investigation into what happened in North Charleston.
“I suspect it will take some time,” Andrew J. Savage III, a Charleston criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor, said in the statement, which was e-mailed to The Post on Thursday morning. “As we focus in on the facts, we will probably have more to say, but it is far too early for us to be saying what we think. Slager’s previous counsel fell into that trap and we have no intention of doing our client further harm.”