More ques­tions in fa­tal S.C. po­lice shoot­ing

It’s un­clear whether of­fi­cers made an ef­fort to save Wal­ter Scott’s life af­ter one shot him.

Los Angeles Times - - THE NATION - By Sarah Parvini and David Zucchino sarah.parvini@la­times.com Twit­ter: @parvinipar­lance david.zucchino@la­times.com Twit­ter: @davidzucchino

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — The graphic and now familiar video show­ing Of­fi­cer Michael T. Slager shoot­ing Wal­ter L. Scott does not in­clude images of of­fi­cers aid­ing Scott, lead­ing some peo­ple to ques­tion whether po­lice tried to save the man’s life.

But ac­cord­ing to ac­counts by of­fi­cers, there was a flurry of ac­tiv­ity to help the mor­tally wounded man.

There were at least seven of­fi­cers on the scene, ac­cord­ing to the in­ci­dent re­port. In the three-minute video made public Tues­day, of­fi­cers walk around the scene, pull up Scott’s shirt and briefly check his pulse.

Slager’s ac­tions and the seem­ing lack of ef­fort to give med­i­cal care have an­gered peo­ple within the com­mu­nity.

“He was more in­ter­ested in cov­er­ing up than try­ing to save the life of this man he had just shot in the back,” North Charleston NAACP Pres­i­dent Ed­ward Bryant III said of Slager. “He was trained. He was locked in on what to do — and that was to cover up what he had done.”

The lo­cal Na­tional Assn. for the Ad­vance­ment of Colored Peo­ple leader ac­cused Slager, who has been fired and charged with mur­der, of plant­ing his Taser stun gun next to Scott’s body to but­tress his ac­count of the shoot­ing. The of­fi­cer told a dis­patcher, re­fer­ring to Scott, “He took my Taser,” ac­cord­ing to the North Charleston Po­lice Depart­ment in­ci­dent re­port.

Ac­counts from other of­fi­cers de­scribe ef­forts to save Scott.

An of­fi­cer who ar­rived mo­ments af­ter the shoot­ing was “ad­min­is­ter­ing first aid,” ac­cord­ing to the po­lice re­port. A third of­fi­cer, it says, ar­rived and as­sisted in pro­vid­ing med­i­cal care.

“I ex­ited my ve­hi­cle and as­sisted Of­fi­cer Haber­sham with first aid and CPR to the driver,” Sgt. J. Gann said in the re­port. “We con­tin­ued to per­form first aid and CPR un­til EMS ar­rived on scene.”

The ac­count from Haber­sham, whose full name was not given, does not men­tion CPR, how­ever.

“I at­tempted to ren­der aid to the vic­tim by ap­ply­ing pres­sure to the gun­shot wounds,” Haber­sham said.

An ac­count of the shoot­ing pro­vided by an of­fi­cer iden­ti­fied as Sgt. Webb men­tioned only that Haber­sham ad­min­is­tered chest com­pres­sions, and an­other de­scrip­tion said mul­ti­ple of­fi­cers tried to help Scott.

North Charleston po­lice did not re­turn re­quests for com­ment. Charleston County Emer­gency Med­i­cal Ser­vices said it re­ceived a call at 9:40 a.m. and ar­rived on the scene five min­utes later. Scott was “DOA shortly af­ter their ar­rival,” said Don Lundy, chief of EMS.

Dur­ing a news con­fer­ence Wed­nes­day, Po­lice Chief Ed­die Drig­gers strug­gled to an­swer ques­tions about of­fi­cers’ first aid re­sponse.

“Was CPR ever per­formed on this man, as far as you know?” a re­porter asked.

“I’m go­ing to be to­tally hon­est with you —” Drig­gers replied be­fore a man in the au­di­ence cut him off. “Do that,” the man said. “I am. And give me just a sec­ond. The hon­esty comes from my heart. I have watched the video, and I was sick­ened by what I saw,” Drig­gers said. “What I saw was … I be­lieve to be a po­lice of­fi­cer re­mov­ing the shirt of the in­di­vid­ual and per­form­ing some type of life­sav­ing. But I’m not sure what took place there.”

“But you don’t know if CPR was per­formed?” the re­porter asked again.

“I do not know. I was told that life­sav­ing — that they tried to save his life,” Dig­gers said.

South Carolina Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Academy does not pro­vide first aid train­ing dur­ing the 12-week pro­gram, the academy said, but Slager’s per­son­nel file shows he was trained in first aid and CPR.

The Rev. Thomas Dixon, an African Amer­i­can com­mu­nity or­ga­nizer in North Charleston, says many black res­i­dents are so con­di­tioned to ex­pect mis­treat­ment that some black lead­ers were not sur­prised when Slager did not ap­pear to of­fer Scott as­sis­tance af­ter shoot­ing him.

“In our com­mu­nity, we ex­pect that kind of be­hav­ior,” Dixon said.

OF­FI­CER SLAGER ap­pears to check Scott’s pulse in this video frame from the Scott fam­ily’s lawyer.

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