Angry protests swept the US as a horrifying video showing a white police officer shooting eight times a black person running away from him led to the officer being charged with murder and fired.
Protests began within hours of the murder charge against white South Carolina police officer Michael Thomas Slager, who claimed he shot 50-year-old Walter Scott in self-defence
North Charleston mayor Keith Summey announced that he had ordered body cameras to be worn by every single officer on the force in the city. “I have watched the video. And I was sickened by what I saw. And I have not watched it since,” Police Chief Eddie Driggers said.
He was interrupted by chants of “no justice, no peace” and other shouted questions that he and the mayor said they could not answer, according to CBS News.
About 75 people gathered outside City Hall, led by Black Lives Matter, a group formed after the fatal shooting of another black man in Ferguson, Missouri.
“Eight shots in the back!” local organizer Muhiydin D’Baha shouted through a bullhorn. The crowd yelled “In the back!” in response.
The video recorded by an unidentified bystander shows Slager dropping his Taser, pulling out his Glock pistol and firing at Scott from a distance as he runs away.
The dead man’s brother, Anthony Scott, told CBS News that he thought “my brother was gunned down like an animal.”
At the White House, spokesman Josh Earnest said the video released Tuesday was “awfully hard to watch.”
Earnest said he hadn’t discussed the shooting with President Barack Obama but wouldn’t be surprised if Obama had seen the video.
“I have watched the video, and I was sickened by what I saw,” North Charleston police Chief Eddie Driggers told reporters Wednesday.
The mayor spoke at the same news conference that was repeatedly interrupted by protesters, who chanted: “No justice! No peace!” They called for Mayor Keith Summey to step down.
Summey told reporters that the city has ordered an additional 150 body cameras “so every officer on the street” in the city will have one. That is in addition to 101 body cameras already ordered, he said.
Just before the conference was set to begin, demonstrators walked in. They were led by a man wearing a “Black Lives Matter” T-shirt who shouted, “This is what democracy looks like!”
Scott’s shooting stirred memories of the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri, where an unarmed black teenager was killed by a white police officer. A grand jury declined to indict the officer in that case, CBS said.
Commenting on the “horrifying video” the New York Times said “this heinous act, which the officer tried to explain away by claiming that he feared for his life, strikes a familiar chord in communities of colour all across the United States.”
“The country needs to confront this issue directly and get this problem under control,” it said.
The Washington Post called the video “sickening” and wondered “whether, in its absence, the officer would have escaped with impunity.”
Instead of relying on bystanders to provide evidence of wrongdoing, however, police departments should accept and accelerate the deployment of body cameras, the daily said.