A police officer in North Charleston, South Carolina, was charged with murder Tuesday after a cell-phone video was released of him fatally shooting an apparently unarmed man in the back following a traffic stop Saturday.
Michael Slager, 33, was arrested by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and faces 30 years to life in prison or the death penalty, state officials said in a news release.
In the video, which was obtained by The New York Times, Slager shoots at the suspect — later identified as 50-year-old Walter Scott — about eight times as he runs away in a vacant lot.
The officer, who is white, said the suspect, who is black, took his Taser and that he feared for his life. The Justice Department is also reviewing the incident, which comes on the heels of other police-related shootings involving unarmed black men.
Slager was arrested less than an hour after the video, taken by a bystander, was provided to city and police officials. At a Tuesday news conference, North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said the decision to charge the officer came after viewing the footage.