The man who filmed the horrifying video of police officer Michael Slager fatally shooting at unarmed South Carolina man Walter Scott is speaking out for the first time. In a NBC News interview, Feidin Santana shared what he saw in the moments leading up to Scott's death and his thoughts on the footage captured by his cell phone that led to Slager's murder charge. Santana's eyewitness account contradicts a major detail in Slager's call to dispatch and the police report he later filed, in which the officer claimed he felt threatened after Scott allegedly attempted to reach for his Taser.
Santana told NBC News he was on his phone while walking to his job when he saw Scott being chased by a police officer, now identified as Slager. Before he started recording, Santana said he heard the sound of a Taser being used on Scott and saw Scott and Slager struggle on the ground, a situation in which Slager appeared to be in control. Santana claimed the Taser was never in Scott's possession and he believed Scott was running to get away from the Taser.
What happened next was caught on tape.
As you can see in the video, the police officer just shot him in the back, and I knew right away that I had something in my hands.
But Santana also told NBC News he was afraid of what might happen if he gave the footage to the police and considered erasing the video and skipping town. However, when he saw the police report and heard Slager's claims about why he shot at Scott eight times, Santana said he felt the situation wasn't being told as how he had witnessed it. He decided to give the video to Scott's family, who then took the footage to authorities. Santana said if he had a family member in their situation, he "would like to know the truth."
Santana expressed sympathy to both Scott's and Slager's families but said there were other ways to handle the situation, options that he said Slager decided not to take.
It's something that no one can feel happy about. (Slager) has his family. Scott also has his family. But I think you know (Slager) made a bad decision. You pay for your decisions in this life. ... Mr. Scott didn't deserve this.