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Witness Identified in Fatal S. Carolina Police Shooting

  • VOA News

A sign calling for justice is attached to a fence near the site where Walter Scott was killed in North Charleston, S.C., Wednesday, April 8, 2015.

A sign calling for justice is attached to a fence near the site where Walter Scott was killed in North Charleston, S.C., Wednesday, April 8, 2015.

The witness who recorded the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer in North Charleston, South Carolina, last week said he initially considered erasing the video from his cell phone.

Feidin Santana told NBC News Wednesday that Officer Michael Slager "had control of the situation" after subduing Walter Scott with his electronic stun gun, or Taser, moments after pulling Scott over for a traffic violation.

Santana began recording the incident at the point when the 50-year-old Scott began running away from Slager. Slager pulled his gun and fired eight shots at Scott, who collapsed about 9 meters (30 feet) away.

WATCH: Video footage recorded by witness of shooting

​Santana said he felt "that my life, with this information, might be in danger." He said he turned the video over to Scott's family after reading the police's version of the events in the news.

Slager initially said he opened fire after Scott had taken his electronic stun gun during a scuffle.

A lawyer for the family gave the video to The New York Times, which posted it on its website Tuesday.

Arrested, charged with murder

North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager is seen in an undated photo released by the Charleston County Sheriff's Office in Charleston Heights, South Carolina.

North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager is seen in an undated photo released by the Charleston County Sheriff's Office in Charleston Heights, South Carolina.

Slager was arrested and charged with murder in last Saturday's shooting of Scott, and also been fired from his post.

The video taken by Santana also showed Slager handcuffing Scott after the shooting, then going back to the spot where he opened fire. He picked up something from the ground, walked back to Scott's body, and dropped the object next to him.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the state’s criminal investigative body, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have each launched their own probes into the matter.

North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said Wednesday at a news conference that investigators were examining video footage of the incident from a camera mounted in Slager's patrol car. Summey also said the city will buy body cameras for all of the city's uniformed officers.

Fatal encounters

The South Carolina incident is the latest in a series of fatal encounters in the United States between unarmed black males and white police, including the shootings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, and the chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York City.

The incidents have led to large protests across the nation over aggressive police tactics in minority communities.

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