North Charleston numbed by another gun death
Demonstrators rallied last night against what they described as a culture of police brutality in South Carolina in the case of a white officer caught on video killing a black man by shooting him in the back as the man ran away after a traffic stop.
Holding signs that read "The whole world is watching" and "Back turned, don't shoot," dozens of protesters in North Charleston said the death of 50-year-old Walter Scott on Saturday should not be viewed as an isolated incident.
"There is an atmosphere of racism in North Charleston, and we need to get rid of it," said Ramon Roane (52), one of the speakers who gave examples of what they called unfair treatment by city police and leaders amid chants of "No more! No more!" by the crowd.
The shootings have stirred debate across the United States about police use of lethal force and race relations, also drawing President Barack Obama into the firing line. Civil rights leaders have called for calm, and many people praised the courage of the witness who filmed the killing and gave the video to Scott's family.
The shooting was the 11th involving a police officer in South Carolina this year and the second in North Charleston, said Thom Berry, spokesman for the state's law enforcement division. No one was injured in the prior incident in the city in January, he said.
Police said Saturday's shooting occurred after Officer Michael Slager (33), who joined the department in 2009, stopped Scott over a broken brake light.