NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The president of the Charleston Chapter of the NAACP called the swift action taken in the case of Walter Scott the exception, not the rule.
"We're glad in this instance, there was a speedy investigation and a speedy indictment, and we will continue to monitor this case to see that justice is done," President Dot Scott said.
Scott read a prepared statement at a Thursday morning press conference at the Charleston branch's office on Columbus Street.
Scott repeated a recurring theme being discussed in the black community since a graphic video of the shooting came to light.
"The lingering question in this case is what would have happened if there was no video?" she said. "Would there have been an indictment, or would there have been a cursory investigation where Mr. Scott was painted as a criminal, where the officer's version of what happened would have been accepted as truth, and where there would have been no murder charge?"
Scott said it is time for change and hoped Scott's death and the video that captured that moment will serve as a catalyst for change. Scott said her organization is hopeful that change will take two immediate forms.
"We urge our state's legislature to stop dragging its feet on legislation proposed by Sen. Marlon Kimpson and Rep. Wendell Gilliard and enact a law requiring all law enforcement officers in South Carolina to wear body cameras, because as Mr. Scott's case shows, video doesn't lie," Scott said. "We also urge Gov. Nikki Haley to advocate for that law so that black men can say, as she likes to say, 'It's a great day in South Carolina.'"
Scott also called for US attorney William Nettles to look not only at Scott's case, but to work with the federal Department of Justice "to review and thoroughly investigate the policies and practices of the North Charleston Police Department, the Charleston Police Department and the Charleston County Sheriff's Department, especially when it comes to racial profiling and officer-involved shootings and physical altercations."
The group also called for a citizen's review board, which would include citizens who do not work for local law enforcement agencies. They say this would allow an objective look at what happened when a complaint is made against an officer.
The Charleston Branch of the NAACP and the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus scheduled separate press conferences at 11 a.m. Thursday to discuss the shooting death of Walter Scott at the hands of a North Charleston police officer.
According to a release, the presser will include a statement on the fatal shooting and the charges brought against now former North Charleston Patrolman First Class Michael Slager, and a call for "further vigilance and accountability with regard to racial profiling by law enforcement agencies in the Greater Charleston area."
State senators and representatives who make up the state's Legislative Black Caucus pushed for municipalities across the state to purchase body cameras for their officers at their press conference at the North Charleston City Hall's Municipal Court.
The group discussed two bills currently going through the legislature. One deals with body cameras themselves, while the other seeks to create a subcommittee of three Senators and Representatives each to research other state's use of the cameras.
Rep. Wendell Gilliard says the goal is to pull the body camera bill out of its current subcommittee and have it on the Senate Floor by next Thursday. He also says manufacturers will address the Charleston County legislation delegation on types of cameras next Friday.
The fatal shooting furthered a national discussion on possible racial discrimination by law enforcement. Scott was an unarmed black man. Slager, a white police officer.
"It is a travesty that Walter Scott is dead. His death has further alienated many African Americans from trusting that a White police officer will protect and serve them regardless of their skin color," a release from the Black Caucus states. "His death has further alienated many African Americans from trusting that a White police officer will protect and serve them regardless of their skin color."
Scott, 50, was shot and killed by Slager Saturday morning in an abandoned grassy area near Remount Road and Craig Road.
Initial reports state Slager initiated a traffic stop due to a brake light not working on Scott's older-model Mercedes- Benz. Scott allegedly fled on foot, and an altercation involving Slager's Taser occurred behind businesses in the area.
Cell phone video taken by a witness catches the end of the altercation, just before Slager is seen firing eight shots at the back of Scott while the man attempted to run away.
According to Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten, Scott died from multiple gunshot wounds to the back.
Slager, who claimed he shot Scott because he feared for his life, was charged with murder Tuesday after the cell phone video surfaced.
The 33-year-old suspect, who has since been fired from the department, is being held in protective custody at the Charleston County Detention Center.