SLED: Video confirmed investigators' early suspicions of Walter Scott's death
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Officials with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division have released a report stating a bystander's video confirmed their agents' early suspicions of how Walter Scott died.
A SLED report released on Thursday states responding agents were concerned by what they found at the scene of the April 4 shooting of 50-year-old Walter Scott by former North Charleston Police officer Michael Slager.
"Our agents and crime scene technicians arrived shortly after the incident took place," said SLED Chief Mark Keel."There were inconsistencies including what appeared to be multiple gunshot wounds in Mr. Scott's back. We believed early on that there was something not right about what happened in that encounter. The cell phone video shot by a bystander confirmed our initial suspicions."
Keel said SLED agents are trained to be observant and question what they are told and initially find at a crime scene.
"It is our nature throughout the investigative process to analyze all of the evidence in this and any other case to ensure a fair and impartial investigation," Keel said."That includes a detailed examination of the videos, laboratory analysis of the forensic evidence and interviews with those involved. While what we have seen and learned may provide some answers, it raises more questions and issues to investigate. We encourage anyone with information about this incident to immediately contact us and cooperate in our investigation."
Keel said he anticipates more information will be provided to SLED investigators by the man who videoed the incident.
"I appreciate that Feidin Santana was worried about his safety and whether he could trust the police after what he saw and captured on his cell phone. I'm grateful he decided not to erase the video. We are eager to discuss the incident with him,"Keel said."We have interviewed Michael Slager, the other officers and others who may have some knowledge of the this incident," Keel said."We will pursue this case until we are confident we have developed as much factual information and evidence as possible to give to prosecutors. We have worked throughout this case with Solicitor Wilson and will continued to do so until the matter is resolved."
Slager was arrested and charged by SLED with murder following an interview Monday afternoon at his then-attorney's office. Slager remains in the Charleston County Detention Center.
"I understand many people still have questions and so do we," Keel said."As the investigating agency, each citizen must keep in mind that even though an arrest has been made our work is not over. We strive for transparency and are confident the facts will come to light. This is still a prospective law enforcement action. The premature release of specific details has the potential to harm the investigation and prosecution of this terrible tragedy. Our pursuit of justice for all involved requires our unwavering commitment and dedication."
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