In the very first media reports of the shooting by South Carolina officer Michael Slager of Walter Scott the North Charleston police were quoted as follows (Saturday April 4th):
FIRST MEDIA 4/4/15 […] Police in a matter of hours declared the occurrence at the corner of Remount and Craig roads a traffic stop gone wrong, alleging the dead man fought with an officer over his Taser before deadly force was employed.
[…] A statement released by North Charleston police spokesman Spencer Pryor said a man ran on foot from the traffic stop and an officer deployed his department-issued Taser in an attempt to stop him.
That did not work, police said, and an altercation ensued as the men struggled over the device. Police allege that during the struggle the man gained control of the Taser and attempted to use it against the officer. The officer then resorted to his service weapon and shot him, police alleged. (link)
A video containing part of the confrontation surfaced when eye-witness Feidin Santana contacted the family of Walter Scott the following day (Sunday); and then gave the video to South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) on Monday.
Officer Slager was arrested later Monday afternoon and charged with Murder before witness Santana was even interviewed.
The actual public display of the video began on Tuesday April 7th. With the immediate media storyline stating the original police statements were “false” and/or “factually inaccurate”.
The story became about “lying police”, and that specific narrative framed the media discussion for the next week. Even normally level-headed media punditry jumped into the PC fray for their pound of flesh shouting that Officer Slager falsified his statement(s).
However, with time, further careful research, and much closer looks at the video itself, it appears that nothing initially stated by South Carolina LEO, or more specifically Officer Michael Slager is false or incorrect. [zoomed taser video by Bob]
It is reported that Officer Slager stated he had lost control/custody of the x26 Taser he deployed to restrain a non compliant Walter Scott. Factually, no-one in the media has actually seen the initial report made by slager. However, if you watch the video closely the Taser actually appears to have been used against Slager.
At least one dart appears lodged in the upper torso, chest, shirt area of Officer Slager.
Additionally, if you follow the wire you also recognize the cartridge from the Taser itself is being dragged behind the fleeing Walter Scott.
This is critical because the darts are on one end of the wire, and the cartridge is on the other end – usually the cartridge remaining in the trigger assembly. However, the cartridge is obviously dislodged from the trigger assembly during the struggle.
If the cartridge is dragging behind Scott -somehow tangled with his foot/shoe or leg – and the line is visibly taut (which it is) then the dart end is indeed attached to Officer Slager.
*NOTE* The civilian version of the x26 (x26C) only has 10-15′ of wire, but the LEO version is 25′ to 35′. From the imaging it appears the length is at least 25′.
This means when the Taser fired during the struggle, the dart ends most likely penetrated Slager, not Scott – OR Slager and Scott.
Factually this aligns with the recorded statement of Slager and the reports of his initial debriefing and incident report.
It could be that one dart is in the leg of Slager and the other is in the upper torso region as evidenced below.
This would also explain the picture of Slager being debriefed after the confrontation with his left pant leg folded up as he explains events to the documenting officer.
Again, watch that moment in the short video here (suggest full screen)
Expanding these visuals and going back to the original source video taken by eye-witness Feidin Santana, an emerging picture comes to the surface. Officer Slager did in fact lose custody, or control, of the Taser to Walter Scott.
This puts Slager at a serious disadvantage and obvious risk.
Eye-witness Santana describes hearing the sound of the Taser in his statement (as shared by his attorney Todd Rutherford):
[…] After observing the two men struggle on the ground and hearing the sound of a Taser gun, I began filming the altercation with my cell phone”. (link)
The sounds of the Taser crackling are clearly evident in the very beginning of the video.
In the micro-seconds of decision-making, and having chased a fleeing suspect, and having physically struggled for almost two minutes, a scenario emerges where Slager -having lost the advantage of his Taser, and facing the risk of incapacitation from his own Taser being used against him – doesn’t realize (as they stand up – still fighting) the cartridge has dislodged from the trigger assembly.
The Taser wire is clearly still attached to Officer Slager as he draws his firearm to regain control against the risk presented by Scott. The whereabouts of the actual trigger assembly unknown to Slager but in the video you can see it landing behind them.
If you frame by frame the video you will note the wire is still attached to the torso of Slager, and tightening by the fleeing Scott, as Slager fires the first shot.
Between shots 1 and 2 the wire pulls free from the officer’s upper torso region as Scotts’ forward momentum dislodges it. However, the wire is also still hung up on the foot/leg area of Scott as he runs away. You can see the Taser cartridge bouncing along behind him.
An argument can be made, and would be supported by factual evidence, that Officer Slager didn’t know Scott was not in possession of the trigger assembly. Slager now focused on using his firearm – this is all happening in microseconds.
Video eye-witness Feidin Santana with his attorney Todd Rutherford visit with the family of Walter Scott and their attorney Chris Stewart – Friday 4/10/15.
[…] “He (Feidin Santana) checked Facebook to see if he knew anyone in common with the family, and found that they shared some friends. He asked one of those friends to make an unusual introduction. He showed the video to the Scott family on Sunday and turned it over to state investigators on Monday”…. (link)
♦ Saturday April 4th – Shooting occurs at approximately 9:30am
♦ Sunday April 5th – Santana shares the video with Walter Scott Family.
♦ Monday April 6th – Officer Slager arrested in the office of his attorney. (*Note* Santana has not been interviewed by SLED prior to the arrest.)
♦ Tuesday April 7th – SLED releases the Official Arrest Warrant along with Public release of the video via New York Times. Police Dept. announces Officer Slager fired.
♦ Wednesday April 8th – Witness Santana begins doing video interviews. – Dash Camera video is released showing uneventful traffic stop until Walter Scott flees vehicle.
♦ Thursday April 9th – SLED Press Release with details justifying their arrest. Santana continues with New York Media circuit.
This video shows a running clock from the moment of Walter Scott running to the moments that follow. This video allows you to see the length of the struggle.
When we begin to research the facts of controversial issues we eventually find the deconstruction of a false media narrative, and exposing how the media manipulates public opinion of events, ultimately becomes the purpose of our research more than anything else.
In case we have not said it clearly enough, allow me to repeat. We hold no opinion as to the Walter Scott shooting itself. These threads are to get to the FACTS of who, what, when and where; leading toward discussion of the possibilities inherent in the “why”.
You know, what the Fourth Estate used to do…
It is not a consequence of whether Michael Slager was right or wrong. Nor a matter of whether anyone “deserved” anything, or if anything was “justified”.
Just a simple search for the truth. The truth that has no agenda nor disposition toward anyone’s opinion of it.
All of that said, you’d have to be blind to the events of the past 5 years regarding controversial violent encounters (Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Tony Robinson, etc) and the inherent manipulation of the details therein, not to notice that some evidence is released and some similar evidence brutally missing, for an very intentional purpose.
The South Carolina Walter Scott shooting -by Police Officer Michael Slager- is absolutely filled with intentionally missing elements in an effort by ALL INTERESTED PARTIES to sell a narrative useful for their purposes.
What does that mean? It means this is not just a legal issue; it means the shooting is being manipulated for a political benefit; it means the substance in the media reports are there to sell a purposeful narrative from one singular perspective.
EXAMPLE: All of the police officers initial incident reports have been released, except Officer Slager.
Sure does make it easier to call Slager a liar without his statement, no?
If he really did lie on his statement, and considering everything SLED was so willing to advocate so quickly, why didn’t they release it to show what a rotten fibber he was?
South Carolina officials have set up their community, and the entire nation, for a total crisis when the legal case falls apart…..
…. Ask yourself why would they do that?