Saturday 1 October 2016

Walter Scott 'may have fled police officer because he owed child support' - brother

Published 08/04/2015 | 09:41

A black man who was shot eight times in the back as he fled from a white police officer may have ran away because he owed child support.

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Mr Walter Scott’s brother Anthony said he may have tried to flee from the police officer because he didn’t want to return to jail for owing child support.

His lawyer Chris Stewart said Scott had four kids, a job and was engaged to be married.

“He has four children; he doesn’t have some type of big violent past or arrest record,” said Mr Stewart told the New York Times.

“He had a job, he was engaged. He had back child support and didn’t want to go to jail for back child support.”

According to The Post and Courier newspaper of Charleston, Mr Scott had been arrested about 10 times previously, for failing to pay child support or show up to court hearings.

North Charleston police officer Michael Slager will be charged with murder over the shooting death of a black man who appeared to be fleeing from him, local authorities said on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters
North Charleston police officer Michael Slager will be charged with murder over the shooting death of a black man who appeared to be fleeing from him, local authorities said on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters

He was arrested in 1987 on an assault and battery charge and convicted in 1991 of possession of a bludgeon, the newspaper reported.

Footage of the shooting shows Mr Scott being shot up to eight times as he ran from police officer Mr Michael Slager (33).

The video then shows Mr Slager placing what looks like a taser gun next to the victim as he lay on the ground. It was reported Mr Slager called for help at the scene and said Scott had taken his taser gun from him.

Family lawyer Mr Stewart said the coroner had told him that Mr Scott was struck a total of five times - three times in the back, once in the upper buttocks and once in the ear - with at least one bullet entering his heart, the New York Times reports.

It is not clear whether Mr Scott died immediately at the scene.

Mr Scott’s brother Anthony said his mother called him on Saturday shortly after the incident, saying his brother had been shot by a taser gun after a traffic stop.

Anthony told the newspaper he was told his brother was dead when he arrived at the scene, but wasn’t given any explanayion.

 “This just doesn’t sound right,” he later said in an interview. “How do you lose your life at a traffic stop?”

Anthony Scott said he last saw his brother Walter Scott three weeks ago at a family party.

“We hadn’t hung out like that in such a long time,” Mr. Scott said.

“He kept on saying over and over again how great it was.

 “He jumped up and said, ‘That’s my song,’ and he danced like never before,” his brother said about the evening.

North Charleston is South Carolina’s third-largest city with a population of about 100,000, nearly half of whom are black.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division has begun an inquiry into the shooting. The F.B.I. and the Justice Department are also investigating the incident.

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