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White US officer charged with murder in black man's death

Published:Thursday | April 9, 2015 | 4:00 AM
City Patrolman Michael Thomas Slager.
Muhiydin D'Baha leads a group protesting the shooting death of Walter Scott at city hall in North Charleston, yesterday.
Scott lies face down at the feet of City Patrolman Michael Thomas Slager.
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SOUTH CAROLINA (AP):

Dramatic video that shows a white South Carolina police officer shooting a fleeing black man has led authorities to file a murder charge against the officer amid public outrage over a series of deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of US law enforcement agents.

The video, provided to the dead man's family and lawyer by an unidentified person, shows officer Michael Thomas Slager firing eight shots at the back of Walter Lamer Scott as Scott runs away. The 50-year-old man falls after the eighth shot, fired after a brief pause.

The shooting in North Charleston, South Carolina's third-largest city, comes amid an ongoing nationwide debate over issues of trust between law enforcement and minority communities.

Protests, some violent, erupted in many cities last year following the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York City. The furor grew after grand juries declined to indict the white officers who killed them.

A protest began with about 40 to 50 people yesterday in North Charleston, led by a group formed after Brown's shooting in Ferguson.

North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey announced the charge against Slager at a news conference held on Tuesday. Authorities said Scott was shot after the officer had already hit the man with a stun gun after a traffic stop last Saturday that began over a faulty brake light.

Slager, who has been with the North Charleston police for five years, could face 30 years to life in prison, if convicted.