South Carolina authorities have released police audio from the Walter Scott shooting that led to a murder charge for officer Michael Slager on Tuesday. The audio reveals how Slager, who is white, described the moments before and after he fatally shot the black father of four on Saturday. Slager's account dramatically differs from what was shown in a graphic video captured by eyewitness Feidin Santana, which showed Slager shooting eight times as Scott ran away.
The radio dispatch audio, released by the AP, begins with Slager (#223) calling in a description of Scott's older model Mercedes-Benz and license plate number during a traffic stop for an allegedly broken tail light. Later, Slager calls again panting and says he is "chasing on foot down Craig Street" a "black male, green shirt, blue pants." Scott had a family court warrant out for his arrest, a family lawyer told The Washington Post, and may have been the reason for why the 50-year-old fled.
The next call is after the shooting took place.
Shots fired. Subject is down. He grabbed my Taser.
Later, a man's voice asks Slager if he is "10-4," or OK in cop lingo. A slightly breathless Slager replies:
Everyone is 10-4, except for the suspect. ... Gunshot wound. Looks like to his chest. To the right side. Unresponsive.
Witness Santana spoke out for the first time Wednesday evening and said he did not see Scott possess Slager's Taser. Santana's account contradicts the officer's previous claim that he felt threatened after Scott allegedly grabbed his stun gun. Should Slager's case go to trial, the stark differences between the radio dispatch audio and Santana's cell phone video will be crucial pieces of evidence as to whether Slager indeed felt his life was threatened.
Image: Charleston County Sheriff’s Office