Police force adopts body-camera policy following Walter Scott shooting


Photo by Elvert Barnes/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Meanwhile, officials have yet to address whether race was a factor in the shooting.

The mayor of North Charleston, S.C., has ordered every city police officer to be outfitted with a body camera after an anonymous citizen’s video recording of an officer shooting dead an unarmed black man led to that officer’s arrest on murder charges.

Mayor Keith Summey announced on Wednesday that he had purchased 251 body cameras, and that, once a policy was in place, the entire force would be trained to use them.

Summey made the announcement at a new conference following the shooting death of Walter Scott, 50, by Officer Michael Slager, 33, of the North Charleston Police Department. Summey was interrupted on multiple occasions by protesters chanting “No justice! No peace!”

Slager, who is white, is currently being held without bond. He has also been fired from his job, the mayor said. A court date has not been set for his hearing.

A bystander captured video of the encounter between Slager and Scott, and its release by the New York Times on Tuesday led to national outrage that called to mind the Michael Brown shooting last year in Ferguson, Mo.

In the video, Slager appears to fire eight times at Scott with his Glock 21 pistol as Scott runs away from him. Slager is quoted in a police report as saying that Scott grabbed his Taser and that police attempted CPR after Scott was wounded. The video appears to contradict both of those claims.

Officials have yet to comment on whether race played a role in the shooting.

“There have been two families that have been harmed greatly by what occurred,” Summey said, “both the victims’ and the officer’s family, and our hearts go out to both of them.”

Although Slager is officially no longer with the police department, the city is going to continue insurance coverage for his wife, who is eight months pregnant.

It is “the humane thing for us to do,” the mayor said.

Summey added that both he and Police Chief Eddie Driggers had visited Scott’s family.

“They’re suffering,” he said. “We let them know how we felt about their loss and how bad it was. We do not condone wrong; it doesn’t matter who it is.”

As the mayor concluded his news conference, protesters began chanting again, this time calling for his removal from office. 

Photo by Elvert Barnes/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

Dell Cameron

Dell Cameron

Dell Cameron was a reporter at the Daily Dot who covered security and politics. In 2015, he revealed the existence of an American hacker on the U.S. government's terrorist watchlist. He is a co-author of the Sabu Files, an award-nominated investigation into the FBI's use of cyber-informants. He became a staff writer at Gizmodo in 2017.