Latest on police shooting: Mourners pay respects at wake – Miami Herald
A steady stream of mourners, including Charleston Mayor Joseph Reilly Jr., gathered Friday afternoon at a wake in downtown Charleston to pay their respects to Walter Scott, the black man who was shot to death by a white North Charleston police officer.
Many walked into the funeral home smiling as they greeted people in the hallway and left minutes later in tears or shaking their heads with pained expressions on their faces.
Visitors walked between two columns of wooden pews toward Scott’s open casket, which was draped in an American flag and adorned with a Dallas Cowboys banner and a figurine of a player.
A heart-shaped flower arrangement on the left read “Beloved Father” and a ribbon on the right said “St. Andrews Parish High School Class of 1984.”
Walter Scott was jailed back in 1987 on a charge of assault and battery, according to a report the Charleston County Sheriff’s Department released Friday.
The report indicates deputies responded to a call about a fight between Scott and another man. The report says that when deputies told the two to break it up, Scott began shouting obscenities at the other man as well as a deputy before shoving the deputy.
The report said that Scott suffered a cut and was treated at a local hospital before being transported to the jail. The disposition of the case was not immediately known.
Another excessive force complaint, as well as a lawsuit, has been filed against Michael Slager stemming from his time on the North Charleston Police Department.
Slager is the white officer fired this week after being charged with murder in the shooting death of a black man that was captured in a dramatic video.
Two years ago, a man said Slager used his stun gun against him without reason. On Friday, a Charleston County man came forward alleging that Slager did the same thing to him during a traffic stop last year.
Justin Wilson’s suit says that when he was pulled over by police Aug. 24, he produced a valid Georgia driver’s license but was placed under arrest for having a suspended South Carolina license.
The suit alleges that Wilson was pulled from his vehicle, forced to the ground and then, although he was cooperating with authorities, Slager shot him with his Taser.
Wilson’s lawyer said he would release a statement next week.
Funeral services are scheduled Saturday for Walter Scott, the black Charleston resident who was shot by a white North Charleston police officer in the incident caught on video that renewed the controversy over black suspects being shot by white officers.
The services are being held in Summerville, South Carolina at the W.O.R.D. Ministries Christian Center. W.O.R.D. stands for World Outreach Revival Deliverance and the ministries also operate Rhema Bible College.
During a news conference earlier this week, North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said that the city would provide a full police escort for the funeral procession.
He said the city wanted to give the Scott family “the utmost respect and the respect that the gentleman who is deceased deserved.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton plans to be in North Charleston this weekend to preach at a church in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of a black man by a white officer after a traffic stop.
Sharpton told The Associated Press on Friday that his message to the congregation of the Charity Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday will be that people pursue justice “in a peaceful, legal way.”
Anthony Scott, the brother of victim Walter L. Scott, tells The Associated Press, that a representative of Sharpton’s National Action Network has been working with family since the shooting last weekend.
Sharpton says he will not attend Scott’s funeral Saturday because of a scheduling conflict. Anthony Scott says the funeral is open to the public.
Sharpton says he plans to preach Sunday morning and then meet privately with members of the Scott family. Later in the day he plans to attend a vigil at the site where Walter Scott was shot.
A prosecutor says she will work with law enforcement agencies to seek an indictment next month from a county grand jury on the murder charge against former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Thomas Slager.
Scarlett Wilson, prosecutor for Charleston County, said that while Slager has had an appearance before a magistrate on the charges, only a circuit judge can set bond on a murder charge in South Carolina. And she said there has not been a request from Slager’s defense to have such a bond hearing.
Slager is represented by prominent Charleston defense attorney Andy Savage.
In a statement, Wilson says her office cannot comment on the merits of a case.
“This office does not dictate nor comment upon police policy, training and procedure,” she said. “I am, however, deeply concerned when those who are sworn to serve and protect violate the public’s trust.”
Slager, who is white, is charged with murder in the shooting death of Walter Scott, a black man, after a traffic stop.
Court records show he is to have an initial appearance in court on Aug. 21.
The mother of the North Charleston police officer charged with murder in the shooting of a fleeing suspect says she’s grieving for both her family and the family of the victim.
Karen Sharpe, mother of officer Michael Thomas Slager, tells ABC’s “Good Morning America” that she knows there are changes for both families.
“It will never be the same again, and that’s the part that bothers me,” she said, fighting back tears.
She says that she has to take one day at a time and that she can’t worry for now about whether she might ever see her son free again.
“I just have to let it be and hope God takes care of everybody involved — not only my family, but the Scott family because I know they’re grieving just like I’m grieving, so I want them to know that,” she said.
She says her son loved being a police officer and that she couldn’t imagine him shooting Walter L. Scott. “It’s just not like him. That’s just not his character. … He has a little baby on the way due next month,” she said.
She says she has been avoiding news accounts of the incident and hasn’t watching the dramatic bystander video footage that helped lead to her son’s arrest.
Walter L. Scott owed more than $18,000 in back child support and court fees at the time he was shot and killed by a police officer. A bench warrant had been issued more than two years ago for deputies to bring him in and face a family court judge.
Records show that he last paid child support in July 2012.
Scott had been in jail three times over child support. In 2008, after a traffic stop in which he was charged with an open-container violation and driving under suspension, he was sent to jail in Charleston for six months for failing to pay about $6,800.
In 2011, bench warrants ordered deputies to bring him in, and Scott spent a night in jail when he was $7,500 behind. In 2012, he spent another night in jail when he owed $3,500.
Family members have said he may have run from Saturday’s traffic stop because he feared going back to jail over more back child support. A police dashboard camera video released Thursday shows Scott bolting from his Mercedes after he pulled over.
Scott had four children. His funeral is scheduled for Saturday.