NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – The white South Carolina police officer charged with murder in the shooting death of a black man can be heard telling his supervisor twice that he didn't understand why the man ran away, according to dash cam video.
That officer, Michael Slager, in is jail and has been fired in the wake of the April 4 shooting death of Walter Scott, 50, who was buried over the weekend. The shooting happened after Slager pulled Scott over for what the officer said was a broken tail light on his Mercedes.
Scott was behind some $18,000 in his child support payments, and family members have said he may have run because he was worried about going back to jail. A warrant had been issued for his arrest.
The shooting was captured on a cellphone camera by a man passing by and became the latest example nationally of an unarmed black man shot by a white police officer, further stirring outrage.
The shooting was not captured by Slager's dashboard camera, which shows what appears to be a routine traffic stop until Scott takes off running. But the cellphone video shows Slager firing eight times at Scott.
SLED has released almost 13 hours of dash cam video from the cruisers of the five officers who responded to the scene.
State Law Enforcement Division spokesman Thom Berry said Monday the actions of all North Charleston officers at the scene are being reviewed. Any findings will be forwarded to local prosecutor. Demonstrations were planned for later Monday near the shooting scene and at city hall to call for broader civilian oversight of the police force.
On one video, Slager can be heard answering a call on his cellphone.
"Everything's OK, OK?" he tells the caller. "I just shot somebody."
He also tells the caller: "He grabbed my Taser, yeah. He was running from me." The officer initially said after the shooting that Scott had tried to take his Taser, and the man who recorded the shooting on his cellphone said he started recording after noticing a scuffle.
Slager can later be heard on the video talking to an officer Berry identified as his supervisor.
"I'm sure SLED will be on the way," the supervisor says. "Once they get here, it will be real quick. They're going to tell you you'll be off a couple of days, we'll come back and interview you. They're not going to ask you any questions right now. They'll take your weapon and we'll go from there."
The supervisor suggests to Slager, "when you get home it would probably be a good idea to kind of jot down your thoughts on what happened — the adrenalin is just pumping."
"It's pumping," Slager responds, and they both laugh.
Then there is a pause for a few seconds, and Slager speaks again, softly:
"I don't understand why he took off like that."
Another short pause.
"I don't understand why he'd run."
Smith reported from Charleston, S.C. Associated Press writer Jeffery Collins contributed to this report from Columbia, S.C.