Family of Walter Scott tells Rev. Al Sharpton to keep away; police release dash-cam video from cop Michael Slager’s cruiser
Matthew Lysiak , Ginger Adams Otis , Corky Siemasko NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Stay away, Rev. Al. That was the message from the family of South Carolina police shooting victim Walter Scott to the civil rights activist Thursday two days before the funeral for the slain father of four.
“We don’t want another Ferguson type of circus here,” a source close to the Scott family told The Daily News.
That was a reference to the Missouri town that was rocked by violent demonstrations last year after black teen Michael Brown was killed by a white cop.
Sharpton gave a rousing speech at the 18-year-old’s funeral, which was attended by thousands.
Scott family attorney Chris Stewart said they appreciate Sharpton’s support but “the funeral is only going to be close family members.” “The Reverend Al has called and expressed his support and condolences,” said Stewart. “The family is very appreciative.”
Sharpton said he has been in touch with the Scott family and their lawyers but insisted “we had no plans to go down.” “They are in mourning and we would never come unless they asked,” he told The News. “We’re willing to be helpful to the family but only when needed.”
Sharpton released a statement Friday morning adding that, “I have been invited to preach in North Charleston, SC, on Sunday and to help lead a healing prayer vigil that afternoon by local clergy who have worked on this case from the beginning.”
In recent days, Sharpton has slammed Scott’s fatal shooting by North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager as “senseless” and proposed nationalizing the country’s police forces as a way to curb brutality against African-Americans.
The apparent snub of Sharpton came as police released the dash-cam video from Slager’s cruiser, which showed Scott suddenly bolting from a car after the officer pulled him over for a broken brake light before the shooting on Saturday.
Scott is at the wheel of a Mercedes and there is a passenger in the front seat as Slager walks up and asks for his license and registration. The doomed man is heard telling the officer he has neither and that he is in the process of buying the car.
Slager heads back to his car, where the Everland song “What It’s Like” is playing on his radio.
When Scott opens his door, the officer tells him to get back in the vehicle. Then Scott opens his door again and takes off running.
Slager can then be heard yelling what sounds like “Taser! Taser! Taser!”
A short time later, Slager was captured on cellphone video shooting a fleeing Scott in the back. The officer has been charged with murder and was fired by his department.
Scott’s parents, Judy and Walter Sr., got their first chance Thursday to thank Feiden Santana, 23, the North Charleston barber who recorded the fateful video of the shooting on Saturday that led to Slager’s arrest.
“Thank God for you. Thank God for you,” the father said, hugging Santana in the meeting videotaped by NBC News. A tearful Judy Scott also embraced Santana, saying, “Oh, thank you God!”
Another relative told Santana, “I don’t know how this would have turned out without the video.
“I’m so glad that you had enough courage to turn the video in,” the relative said.
The Scott family said Thursday it was preparing to hit Slager and his department with a civil suit.
“We will seek every penny of compensation that the family deserves,” state Rep. Justin Bamberg, who is representing the family as a lawyer, told The News. “People in society are fed up with people getting away with things like this, fed up with law enforcement abusing the power that they have.”
Bamberg said, ‘There are still a lot of questions about what transpired especially concerning the other officers.
“We are seeing ‘hear no evil, see no evil’” he said.
Bamberg also said the video clearly shows Slager trying to cover up the crime by dropping an object beside Scott’s dead body.
“It is our firm belief that the officer planted that Taser besides him,” he said.
Slager, 33, a six-year veteran of the North Charleston police, is in jail and being investigated by the FBI, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
Scott had served in the U.S. Coast Guard and had no history of violent crimes although he had been jailed three times — most recently in 2012 — for failing to pay child support.
Bamberg’s announcement came as another black man named Mario Givens came forward with claims that he was attacked and arrested by the white cop for no reason in 2013.
Slager’s fatal encounter with Scott began at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. He told his superiors he opened fire after struggling with Scott — and after the victim ran off with his Taser. But the video showed Scott running away and at least 15 feet from Slager when the officer fired the first of eight shots — four of which struck him in the back and one of which hit him in the ear.
Slager was seen cuffing Scott, who was face down in the grass and not moving. Then Slager was seen retrieving something that looks like a stun gun and dropping it by Scott’s body.
South Carolina police Officer Michael Slager (left) fatally shot Walter Scott (right)
in the back while he ran away on April 4.
Al Sharpton, seen Wednesday in New York, gave a rousing speech at Michael