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Attorneys speak after funeral for South Carolina man shot by police

Saturday, April 11, 2015 - 01:55

Attorneys for Walter Scott, the black man shot to death while running from a white police officer, says this case isn't just about racial issues. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Hundreds of mourners, including prominent South Carolina politicians, attended the funeral on Saturday of Walter Scott, an African-American father of four who was shot in the back while running from a white patrolman. The body of the slain Coast Guard veteran, whose death was filmed by a bystander, was carried in a flag-draped casket past a crowd assembled outside the W.O.R.D. Ministries Christian Center in Summerville, north of North Charleston, where the shooting took place on April 4. Scott's death reignited a public outcry over police treatment of African Americans that flared last year after the killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, New York City and elsewhere. Attorneys for Scott addressed the media following the funeral. "We're not just going to let this case boil down to just racial issues because it's bigger than that, it's a human issue," said attorney Chris Stewart. Michael Slager, the North Charleston officer who fired eight times at Scott's back as he fled from a traffic stop, has been charged with murder and dismissed from the police force. Scott, 50, was driving a black Mercedes-Benz when he was pulled over by Slager, 33, for a broken tail light. Video from the dashboard camera in Slager's police cruiser recorded a respectful exchange between the two men before the officer returned to his patrol car. A few minutes later, after being told by Slager to stay in the Mercedes, Scott emerged from his car and ran off. He was apparently unarmed. A cell phone video taken by a bystander showed the men in a brief tussle before Scott ran off again, Slager fired his gun and Scott slumped into the grass. There was a gap between the two videos, however, as the officer was not wearing a body camera. Rep. James Clyburn, a U.S. congressman who among the 500 people at the funeral, said he wanted national strategies and standards for law enforcement to be considered. "Body cameras are a good start. They're certainly not a panacea," said Clyburn, who was joined at the funeral by U.S. Senator Tim Scott and Rep. Mark Sanford. Scott had a history of arrests for failing to pay child support and was forced out of the U.S. Coast Guard in 1986 after more than two years of service because of a drug offense. He was nonetheless discharged under honorable conditions because he had a good record of service, the Coast Guard said.

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Attorneys speak after funeral for South Carolina man shot by police

Saturday, April 11, 2015 - 01:55