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S.C. Police Shooting Defense: What the Video Doesn't Show

April 09, 2015  | 

VIDEO: Raw Footage of North Charleston Shooting

The shooting of Walter Scott by a North Charleston, S.C., police officer has generated national outrage. Since video of the incident surfaced, the officer has been fired and charged with murder.

Legal and police tactics experts said the video would be powerful evidence in the criminal case. But they say it still leaves the officer's defense with options, reports the Los Angeles Times.

One likely defense focus will be what is not on the video. The interaction between Scott and the officer before the shooting is not seen, nor is the traffic stop that began the incident. Defense attorneys will probably push on this, the experts said, telling jurors that the video doesn't tell the whole story.

"What was the conversation and interaction between the officer and the subject?" said retired Los Angeles police Capt. Greg Meyer. "Why did the subject run away?"

Still, Meyer said that tactic can only go so far.

"On its face the video causes great concerns about the use of deadly force in this case," said Meyer, who appeared as a defense witness in the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant by a transit officer at an Oakland station.

Others agreed, saying one reason the video is so powerful is that it clearly shows the shooting itself.

"Every frame of this video is going to be analyzed," said Ed Obayashi, an attorney and sheriff's deputy in Northern California who is a use-of-force expert. "But so is everything before the video, and that is what is going to be the officer's justification and his defense."


Comments (7)

Displaying 1 - 7 of 7

Judyth Washington @ 4/9/2015 4:21 PM

I am reminded of the Rodney King video. The media didn't show the 12-minute video which showed the drug-soaked King ignoring taser shocks and flinging multiple officers off him. The media only showed the most inflammatory snippet, to picture the cops as sadistic attackers.

Here, the media can act even worse, since there is no video or audio showing the lead-up to the shooting. We can expect these video to be seen millions of times and used by demagogues like Sharpton, Jackson, and Obama to inflame racial tensions.

Rodney King said in the middle of the rights "Can't we all just get along?" In this case I would say, "Can't we just withhold judgment until we know ALL the facts?"

gawoods @ 4/10/2015 6:39 AM

I am assuming this article was written prior to the dash cam video being released which makes several holes in this defense.

Barbara Sakatos @ 4/10/2015 6:56 AM

The video clearly shows a man running from the police and then shot numerous times in the back. There was no threat to the police officer at all. What happened before will be taken into account after the suspect is now dead? Convenient, don't you think? Who will defend him, speak up for him? There will only be one side to the story. Officers go through a lot of training, I admire that greatly, so how about shooting someone with a lot of pellets, taking his car with all his info in from him, something other than ending his life? Maybe he did not want to be another black man killed by the police? The stop did not even warrant the police officer shooting anyone. Do you know how much money these conflicts cost the taxpayers in lawsuits? There has to be another way for these situations to end, but not the death of a citizen for no valid reason other than trigger happy police officers who get exonerated and now feel they have a free pass to kill citizens. For goodness sake, who is not scared when the police stop you? It's like facing your mother or father when you were a child but the penaltys are much higher. There has to be a better solution. Then to have police officers shot in retaliation? When does it all end? I find myself now telling police officers, "You be careful out there." My brother was a police officer in New York City.

A Deputy @ 4/10/2015 7:08 AM

Barbara and people like her need to get A HOLD ON THEIR EMOTIONS! The officer did wrong and was charged with the crime. End of story and move on. There are bad officers as their are bad Clergy, bad mayors, bad mechanics and bad used car salesmen. Just because one is bad does that mean all are bad? Are all young black men drug dealers or just a few? You can't paint all in one group with the same brush!

Sonny @ 4/10/2015 8:43 AM

Wait until all the facts are in? What a novel concept.

Jon Retired LEO @ 4/10/2015 12:53 PM

If there's one thing that will teach you a lesson it is commenting on guilt or innocence before the investigation is completed.

concerned Dad @ 4/10/2015 10:02 PM

What is very troubling is the fact that the original report written is not what actually happened. If were not for video………

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