CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A statement from the last man to talk to Walter Scott, more details about the arrest of the officer charged and action by South Carolina lawmakers are the latest developments in the case of a black man shot and killed by a white North Charleston Police officer.
The April 4 slaying of 50-year-old Walter Scott was captured on a cellphone camera. The dramatic video shows officer Michael Slager shooting eight times at Scott as he runs away. The slaying reignited the national debate over the shooting of blacks by white officers.
The latest developments in the Walter Scott case:
COMMENT FROM A FRIEND
The man who was the last person to speak with Walter Scott says he doesn’t know why Scott ran shortly before he was shot and killed.
“I’ll never know why he ran, but I know he didn’t deserve to die,” Pierre D. Fulton said in the brief statement released late Monday night by his attorney, Mark Peper. “Walter was a dear friend and I miss him every day. Over the past five years he helped me to become a better man and showed me the value of hard work.”
Fulton was riding in the car when Scott’s Mercedes was pulled over for a broken taillight. Scott later ran from the car before he was chased and shot. Scott was behind $18,000 in his child support payments and family members have said he may have run because he was worried about going to jail.
Thom Berry, a spokesman for the State Law Enforcement Division, provided more details Tuesday about the arrest of Slager.
He said SLED agents wanted to talk to Slager the day of the shooting but stopped when he told them he had an attorney.
Agents interviewed Slager at the office of his then-attorney, David Aylor, three days later. A spokesman for Scott’s family said they had given the cellphone video to SLED the night before.
The questioning began the morning of April 7 and continued into the afternoon when Scott was charged. Later Aylor announced he no longer represented Slager.
South Carolina senators returned to Columbia on Tuesday for the first time since the shooting.
A bill introduced by Hartsville Democrat Gerald Malloy would protect anyone who records police from a public place from being arrested or having their videos or pictures taken by officers without asking permission or getting a warrant.
Malloy said people now have that right but the law would make sure of it.
He introduced a second bill requiring SLED to investigate every officer-involved shooting in the state. Nearly every large police agency outside of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department uses SLED, but there is no law requiring SLED to investigate every case.
Passing the bills will ensure Scott “did not die in vain,” said Democratic Sen. Marlon Kimpson, whose district includes the North Charleston area where Scott died.
The Board of Governors of the South Carolina Bar, the organization to which all practicing lawyers in the state must belong, went on record Tuesday calling for the use of body cameras by all law enforcement agencies in the state.
It urged the General Assembly to quickly deal with issues raised by the use of body cameras such as the cost, training and privacy.
Kinnard reported from Columbia, South Carolina. Associated Press writers Jack Jones and Jeffrey Collins in Columbia, South Carolina, contributed to this report.
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