World Bulletin / News Desk
A federal grand jury returned Wednesday a three-count indictment against a white South Carolina police officer related to a 2014 fatal shooting of an unarmed black man.
The indictment charges Michael Slager with a federal civil rights offense, using a firearm during that offense and obstruction of justice, according to the Justice Department.
Slager shot and killed Walter Scott while he was fleeing a traffic stop in Charleston, South Carolina, on April 4, 2015.
Slager initially said Scott, 50, was coming toward him with a stun gun when he opened fire.
But footage taken by a witness appears to contradict the officer’s account with Scott fleeing the scene after some sort of altercation with Slager.
Slager then fires his sidearm multiple times before Scott falls to the ground.
“The indictment alleges that Slager intentionally misled SLED [South Carolina Law Enforcement Division] investigators by claiming that Scott was coming toward him with a taser at the time that Slager fired his weapon, when in truth, Scott was running away,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
Slager faces life in prison and a potential $250,000 fine if he is found guilty.
Scott’s death was one of a number of killings last year that provoked nationwide debate about law enforcement’s use of lethal force, particularly in cases involving black Americans.
Slater is scheduled to appear before a magistrate judge for an initial hearing later Wednesday.