Officer Michael Slager’s five-year career with the North Charleston (South Carolina) Police Department ended after he resorted to deadly force after a routine traffic stop.
Slager, 33, has been fired, officials said Wednesday. His wife is eight months pregnant and the city will continue paying for her medical insurance until the baby is born, North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey told reporters.
The officer initially told investigators that he used a Taser in a confrontation Saturday with Walter Scott. But Scott went for the Taser, according to Slager.
A widely circulated video of the shooting death of the 50-year-old unarmed African-American man by the white police officer tells another story: Scott attempts to run. His back is to Slager, who from a few yards away raises his gun and fires.
Slager is now charged with murder. The FBI is involved in the investigation of the slaying of the father of four.
“Shots fired and the subject is down,” Slager said moments after the shooting, according to reports. “He took my Taser.”
Slager was proficient with the nonlethal Taser. According to personnel records, he scored 50 out of 50 on a Taser certification exam in 2011.
Before the officer starts firing at Scott, the video shows a dark object falling behind him and hitting the ground. It’s not clear whether that is the Taser.
Later in the video, when Slager approaches Scott’s body, he drops a dark object next to the man. Again, it’s not clear whether that’s the Taser.
It’s unknown whether Scott took the officer’s Taser, or whether the officer picked the object up and moved it closer to the body.
Slager was named in a police complaint in 2013 after he allegedly “tased a man for no reason” before slamming him to the ground and dragging him, according to the North Charleston Police Department.
At the time, Slager was searching for a suspect who was described as being 5 feet 5 inches tall. The man he confronted was 6-foot-3.
Slager was cleared in that incident. In an unrelated incident, he was cited for failing to provide a police report.
Slager had worked as a waiter before joining the military, records show. He served in the U.S. Coast Guard, according to a job application filed with the North Charleston Police Department. That application, filed in January 2009, said Slager had not been convicted of a felony in the past seven years.
Personnel documents describe Slager as “enthused” when he joined the force and said he demonstrated “great officer safety tactics” in dealing with suspects.
Slager’s annual in-service mandatory training included a range of topics from first aid to firearms and Taser use. Slager passed his certifications. Last August, Slager passed a firearms qualification.
He also was certified by the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy in March 2013 as having “met and successfully completed the in-service requirements” as a law enforcement officer. Slager completed a separate 10-hour “active shooter incident response training” course in December 2013.
According to the documents, Slager was involved in a “non-preventable” traffic accident last year when a motorist with his car in reverse struck the officer’s patrol car. The driver fled the scene.
Slager signed his oath of office” with the police force on March 1, 2010, pledging to “faithfully serve the citizens of this city” and “never abuse my authority either by words or acts.”
“I will enforce the law courteously and appropriately without fear or favor, malice, or ill will, never employing unnecessary force or violence,” the oath said.