Claim: Officer Michael Slager was shot with his own taser

Steve Funk

Senior Member.
This blogger claims video evidence shows that Walter Scott actually did shoot Michael Slager with the taser. Does anyone here have enough knowledge of tasers and frame by frame video analysis to debunk or confirm this? http://theconservativetreehouse.com...-video-shows-officer-slager-with-taser-darts/


If you review the raw footage (source New York Times) of the witness shooting video you can clearly see the wire from the Taser connected to Officer Slager.

Additionally, if you follow the wire you also recognize the cartridge from the Taser itself is being dragged behind the fleeing Walter Scott.

This is critical because the darts are on one end of the wire, and the cartridge is on the other end – usually cartridge remaining in the trigger assembly. However, the cartridge is obviously dislodged in the struggle.

If the cartridge is dragging behind Scott -somehow tangled with his foot/shoe or leg – and the line is visibly taut (which it is) then the dart end is indeed attached to Officer Slager.

This means when the Taser fired during the struggle, the darts actually penetrated Slager, not Scott.

Factually this aligns with the recorded statement of Slager and the reports of his initial debriefing.

It could be that one dart is in the leg of Slager and the other is in the upper torso region as evidenced below.
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Look more like the wire is just wrapped around Slager's arm. Certainly not "in his upper torso region". Nor does it seem attached to his leg.

The taser is tumbling behind him, the dart is in Scott. The black object that follows Scott seems to be moving because Slager put his foot on it. [Edit - actually looking at later video, it's clearly being dragged by Scott]

 

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Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
As I look again, it seems that maybe Slager has thrown the taser down. This is from looking at his right arm motion. This would lend credence to the officer's claim that he had grabbed the taser.

PS: Wait. I had the names backward. I meant to say it now seems that SCOTT may have thrown the taser down, not officer Slager.
 
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MikeC

Closed Account
If the darts were in Slager and the cartridge was by Scott, then why would hte wires be pulled as Scott runs away?

It looks immediately to me as if the wires are anchored in/on Scott, and then wrapped around Slager's arm, which seems to follow Scott having been tasered, not Slager, and the wire barbs are accordingly what causes Scott to pull hte wires as he runs.
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
If the darts were in Slager and the cartridge was by Scott, then why would hte wires be pulled as Scott runs away?

It looks immediately to me as if the wires are anchored in/on Scott, and then wrapped around Slager's arm, which seems to follow Scott having been tasered, not Slager, and the wire barbs are accordingly what causes Scott to pull hte wires as he runs.

Yes. It seems as if the taser is not working at this moment. Maybe the barbs are in his clothing, but not in his skin. Otherwise, how could he be running?
 

MikeC

Closed Account
Clothing is apparently a major cause of tasers not operating properly - also it is entirely possible to miss with 1 of the darts so there is no circuit - ther are numerous articles on teh web about the problems they can encounter.
 

Steve Funk

Senior Member.
So, one possible scenario is, the taser is ineffective and the wires are inhibiting Slager's freedom of movement as the suspect escapes. He pulls out the cartridge and drops the body of the taser to disconnect the wires, then, in extreme frustration, he pulls his gun out. He rationalizes saying on the radio that Scott had the taser, since the cartridge part actually was following Scott.
 

jonnyH

Senior Member.
I don't think it matters either way, even if at some point Scott did get hold of the taser, the fact remains he did not have the taser and did not present a threat to Slager when he was shot repeatedly in the back from 20ft.
 

tadaaa

Senior Member
looks to me like the Police office simply throws the taser away, behind him (or maybe bats it away, after Scot throws it at him) - to make way for grabbing his gun

and as said - does not change the central narrative

these minute frame by frame analysis have an eerily familiar look and feel to them - create controversy + deploy FUD

although notice how no analysis of the Officer dropping something by the side of Walter Scott
 
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Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
The black object that follows Scott seems to be moving because Slager put his foot on it.


The object (cartridge?) seems to move too fast for it to be caused by Schlager's foot. And, although it's hard to tell from this video, it appears to me that it moves before his foot touches it. This movie cuts off before its movement can be tracked further, though, so it seems to "disappear".
 

BombDr

Senior Member.
The cartridge, if that what is, moving from Slager's left foot seems to be attached to Scott in some way, suggesting that Scott had the forks stuck in him somehow.

But as JonnyH has already pointed out, even if Scott had taken the taser and even if he had shot Slager with it, he was still an unarmed man running away and presenting no threat to him or anyone else.

Doing some amateur psychology for a moment, if Scott had been pulled over for a tail light violation, and it had somehow escalated to the point that Slager was pulling his Taser out, I would probably run as well. If a traffic stop results in weapons being drawn, then that is a bad place to be and will probably not end well for the unarmed citizen, especially if the Police department closes ranks, as they all appear to do.
 

Steve Funk

Senior Member.
If Scott had knocked the taser out of Slager's hand, Slager might have momentarily believed that Scott actually had possession of the taser. which would put him, Slager, in danger of being incapacitated and losing his gun. This might be enough to produce a hung jury or a very unpopular not guilty verdict. Either way, the fact that Scott physically resisted arrest, as noted by Santana, should get the charge reduced to manslaughter.
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
If Scott had knocked the taser out of Slager's hand, Slager might have momentarily believed that Scott actually had possession of the taser. which would put him, Slager, in danger of being incapacitated and losing his gun. This might be enough to produce a hung jury or a very unpopular not guilty verdict. Either way, the fact that Scott physically resisted arrest, as noted by Santana, should get the charge reduced to manslaughter.

It's just not clear what happened after the officer had him down and under control, (according to the observer.)
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
If Scott had knocked the taser out of Slager's hand, Slager might have momentarily believed that Scott actually had possession of the taser. which would put him, Slager, in danger of being incapacitated and losing his gun. This might be enough to produce a hung jury or a very unpopular not guilty verdict. Either way, the fact that Scott physically resisted arrest, as noted by Santana, should get the charge reduced to manslaughter.

Would be rather hard to argue based on when the shots were fired.

 

BombDr

Senior Member.
If Scott had knocked the taser out of Slager's hand, Slager might have momentarily believed that Scott actually had possession of the taser. which would put him, Slager, in danger of being incapacitated and losing his gun. This might be enough to produce a hung jury or a very unpopular not guilty verdict. Either way, the fact that Scott physically resisted arrest, as noted by Santana, should get the charge reduced to manslaughter.
Having done a lot of responding to threats, and training on how to respond to threats, Officer Slager does not have a lot of wriggle room here. Even if they had a full-on MMA bout, Slager would have known that his taser was discharged of its single-shot wire capability and therefore only had its intimate contact capability left. I think the fact that he made no effort to pursue Scott is also telling about Slager's intentions. What are his possible defences?

a. He felt threatened that he might be running retrieve another weapon
b. He believed Scott had his taser and was running away to run back at him from another angle
c. He would have run after him, but an unarmed 50 year old man (who is clearly no Usain Bolt) was too much of a threat to pursue.

Again, even if Scott had resisted arrest, Slager had no reason to draw his weapon and open fire. Cops are not permitted to apply punitive actions, that is for the courts, and I cannot fathom how Slager will argue that he felt mortally threatened by a retreating, unarmed man.
 

Steve Funk

Senior Member.
Yes, Michael Brown fled and came back, but he was coming forward when Darren Wilson shot him. It looks like a pretty strong manslaughter case, which has a maximum sentence of 30 years.
 

BombDr

Senior Member.
Yes, Michael Brown fled and came back, but he was coming forward when Darren Wilson shot him. It looks like a pretty strong manslaughter case, which has a maximum sentence of 30 years.
Probably not the strongest example of an undisputed police shooting case. In any event, Scott had not turned back to Slager and not really sure how shooting an unarmed, retreating man in the back can be treated as manslaughter.

It was a tail light violation. Who on earth would wrestle with a cop and run away from a traffic violation unless they were in fear for their life?
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
. Who on earth would wrestle with a cop and run away from a traffic violation unless they were in fear for their life?

NBC has a clip with I think his father.




Walter Scott owed more than $18,000 in child-support payments and had a bench warrant for his arrest when he was fatally shot by a South Carolina police officer, according to court documents obtained by NBC News.

Scott's parents have suggested they believe their son fled from the officer, Michael Slager, because he owed back child-support payments and did not want to be arrested again. http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/wa...over-child-support-court-records-show-n339151
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But AP on the same day says the opposite (gotta love the media)
N. Charleston, SC (AP) -- An examination of court records by the Associated Press show that Walter L. Scott was almost $7,500 behind in child support at the time he was shot and killed by a police officer, but no bench warrant had been issued for him
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My friend was brought to the police station for having no insurance on her vehicle. and in the video he is saying he doesn't have insurance. I'm sure he never thought the cop would shoot him : (
 

jonnyH

Senior Member.
which has a maximum sentence of 30 years
I make it "no more than 15 years" for manslaughter according to this:
(a) Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice. It is of two kinds:
Voluntary—Upon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion.
Involuntary—In the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to a felony, or in the commission in an unlawful manner, or without due caution and circumspection, of a lawful act which might produce death.
(b) Within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States,
Whoever is guilty of voluntary manslaughter, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both;
Whoever is guilty of involuntary manslaughter, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both.
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Whilst looking for some clarification as to the definition of "a sudden quarrel or heat of passion" I came across a summary of the relevant case law/model direction which is quite helpful:
The defendant killed someone because of a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion if:

1. The defendant was provoked;

2. As a result of the provocation, the defendant acted rashly and under the influence of intense emotion that obscured (his/her) reasoning or judgment;

AND

3. The provocation would have caused a person of average disposition to act rashly and without due deliberation, that is, from passion rather than from judgment.

Heat of passion does not require anger, rage, or any specific emotion. It can be any violent or intense emotion that causes a person to act without due deliberation and reflection.

In order for heat of passion to reduce a murder to voluntary manslaughter, the defendant must have acted under the direct and immediate influence of provocation as I have defined it. While no specific type of provocation is required, slight or remote provocation is not sufficient. Sufficient provocation may occur over a short or long period of time.

It is not enough that the defendant simply was provoked. The defendant is not allowed to set up (his/her) own standard of conduct. You must decide whether the defendant was provoked and whether the provocation was sufficient. In deciding whether the provocation was sufficient, consider whether a person of average disposition would have been provoked and how such a person would react in the same situation knowing the same facts.

[If enough time passed between the provocation and the killing for a person of average disposition to "cool off" and regain his or her clear reasoning and judgment, then the killing is not reduced to voluntary manslaughter on this basis.]

The People have the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not kill as the result of a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion. If the People have not met this burden, you must find the defendant not guilty of murder.
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It seems quite a lot is left to the juries own interpretation but I suspect Slager's fate will depend heavily on the juries view of what is "sufficient" provocation and whether they feel that put in Slager's shoes, they would have done exactly the same thing. What happened before the witness began filming may be quite key in establishing that provocation was sufficient, but regardless I think it will take quite a persuasive argument for an average person of average disposition to say "If it had been me, sure, I'd have shot him... as he ran away... eight times."
 

tadaaa

Senior Member
After the acquittal of the 4 policemen in the Rodney King case, I heard it said by observers of the case

That one potential reason why the policemen were acquitted, despite what seemed on the face of it damning evidence was the frequency that the film of the beating was shown in the media

By the time of the trial It had lost its "shockingness", people had, to a certain extent become desensitised to it all
 
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BombDr

Senior Member.
After the acquittal of the 4 policemen in the Rodney King case, I heard it said by observers of the case

That one potential reason why the policemen were acquitted, despite what seemed on the face of it damning evidence was the frequency that the film of the beating was shown in the media

By the time of the trial It had lost its "shockingness", people had, to a certain extent become desensitised to it all

I agree. Mr Scott is in danger of being just another black man killed by the police, with the police claiming they are the ones really in danger when the stats suggest otherwise.
 

Steve Funk

Senior Member.
As far as length of sentence, Johnny H, you are quoting the federal law. This is in state jurisdiction. I don't have the link for South Carolina handy but I remember reading 30 years. But the definition of the crime is about the same as what you have quoted. The provocation would be that over a one minute 40 second period, Slager was involved in two physical altercations with Scott while attempting to make a legal arrest. The rest of the time, he was chasing Scott. And he had reasonable grounds to suspect auto theft. I agree this will be a judgment call for the jury, and nothing would surprise me. The Presa Canario dog attack a few years ago was pretty obviously negligent manslaughter since the humans had no intent to harm the victim. But the jury came back with second degree because they didn't like the defendants' attitude. The judge tried to reduce it to manslaughter but a higher court affirmed the original verdict.

I hope I don't sound too creepy here. I'm arguing from a little bit of a contrarian perspective, but I agree this looks like a serious criminal violation by the police officer.
 

jonnyH

Senior Member.
As far as length of sentence, Johnny H, you are quoting the federal law.
Thanks for clearing that up for me @Steve Funk I thought it might be something like that. SC is 30 years for voluntary and a mere 5 years for involuntary manslaughter:
http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t16c003.php
SECTION 16-3-50. Manslaughter.

A person convicted of manslaughter, or the unlawful killing of another without malice, express or implied, must be imprisoned not more than thirty years or less than two years.

SECTION 16-3-60. Involuntary manslaughter; "criminal negligence" defined.

With regard to the crime of involuntary manslaughter, criminal negligence is defined as the reckless disregard of the safety of others. A person charged with the crime of involuntary manslaughter may be convicted only upon a showing of criminal negligence as defined in this section. A person convicted of involuntary manslaughter must be imprisoned not more than five years.
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occams rusty scissor

Senior Member.
Again, even if Scott had resisted arrest, Slager had no reason to draw his weapon and open fire. Cops are not permitted to apply punitive actions, that is for the courts, and I cannot fathom how Slager will argue that he felt mortally threatened by a retreating, unarmed man.
This is pretty much the core of it, there is absolutely no justification for that officer to have fired, short of seeing a weapon present. Even then if a weapon was present there is still no imminent threat to anyone and as you point out the "suspect" is running away. I would think he's pretty screwed.
 

occams rusty scissor

Senior Member.
This is critical because the darts are on one end of the wire, and the cartridge is on the other end – usually cartridge remaining in the trigger assembly. However, the cartridge is obviously dislodged in the struggle.

If the cartridge is dragging behind Scott -somehow tangled with his foot/shoe or leg – and the line is visibly taut (which it is) then the dart end is indeed attached to Officer Slager.
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It's pretty hard to see clearly in the video how or why the cartridge was removed, but I find it hard to believe it just fell off when it hit the ground. I've seen Tasers thrown and dropped with cartridges attached - they clip in place quite solidly on the front of the device - and I can't recall seeing one dislodge itself just from hitting the ground. Perhaps Slager was attempting to reload it after it fired/misfired/whatever.

As Mike pointed out, theres a number of reasons that Tasers fail to incapacitate someone. Given the close range, perhaps Slager was attempting to "drive stun" Scott, which is where the front of the cartridge is placed in direct contact with the suspect and fired. This doesnt cause incapacitation, only localised pain, so it would be a natural reaction for Scott to hit the Taser away to stop the pain. Firing the Taser in this manner causes the darts to deploy also, which would explain the wires.

The wires being tangled is pretty inconclusive as well, as those wires are simply really thin, minimally insulated copper wire which tangles quite easily (and can be really annoying close up when you're trying to restrain someone). They tend to snag on everything and I don't see the above explanation being the only plausible one as to how and why the cart is dragging behind Scott.
 

BombDr

Senior Member.
More people than you would think - especially those who think they're wanted for something else or just anti-police.

I agree, but black men in general do have good reason to be concerned in the US when stopped by a white officer. It is certainly not an irrational fear that ignites the fight or flight reflex.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I agree, but black men in general do have good reason to be concerned in the US when stopped by a white officer. It is certainly not an irrational fear that ignites the fight or flight reflex.
The stop itself seemed pretty mellow. From both parties. He chatted amicably and immediately obeyed the officer when told to get back in the car etc.
Not that I think it matters why he ran in the first place. But his family and friends seem to concur they believe it was due to child support issues.
"I think he'd lost a job and gotten behind," Singletary says. "That, to me, is the reason why he would have fled, because he was concerned about paying child support."
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Like most family members and acquaintances of Scott's who have spoken to the media, Singletary says he was "extremely shocked" to hear Officer Slager make the claim, via an attorney, that he felt threatened by the soft-voiced and gentle-hearted man he had known. "I would think that, talking with a policeman, [Scott] would go as far as saying 'Yes sir, no sir,' because he was well-mannered. Very respectful," Singletary says.

It wasn't just Scott's disposition that made him seem unlikely to put up a fight. Part of the six-month program that Scott completed dealt specifically with how to interact with law enforcement officers, according to Father to Father Executive Director William Jenkins
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http://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/...-dads-who-are-behind-on-child-support-payment
 

BombDr

Senior Member.
But his family and friends seem to concur they believe it was due to child support issues.

That may well be the case, and not that I have first hand experience but child support is something that the Police get involved in in the US?:

Regardless, my point is that even a minor altercation with a cop in the US is possible to escalate far beyond what is proportional and Mr Scott was likely (rightfully!) to have believed that the longer he stayed in contact with the cop, the chances of his survival lowered.

Anecdotally, there are hundreds of videos on YT of minor events such as traffic stops or just people walking in the street that start off reasonable and within seconds the cops are unreasonable and using excessive force including lethal force.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
That may well be the case, and not that I have first hand experience but child support is something that the Police get involved in in the US?:

Regardless, my point is that even a minor altercation with a cop in the US is possible to escalate far beyond what is proportional and Mr Scott was likely (rightfully!) to have believed that the longer he stayed in contact with the cop, the chances of his survival lowered.
well I think its possible in any country. and to say 'it's happened before periodically, so it might definitely be the case here' without reading up on the subject is a bit unfair.

I don't personally think Mr. Scott did anything 'wrong' (extreme), he didn't look or act like a threatening gang banger etc. I see no reason for the officer in this case to have shot him BUT it doesn't appear that he initially ran because he was 'afraid' of the officer. The passenger in the car has even stated he doesn't know why Scott ran.

I was surprised by the child support thing too but reading up on this story it appears he was in jail a few times for not paying (which is weird as I know guys who owe a lot more and I don't think have a warrant out for them. It might depend on if the recipient is complaining to the courts though... I'm not sure. Or its just how they do things in that state).
 

BombDr

Senior Member.
well I think its possible in any country. and to say 'it's happened before periodically, so it might definitely be the case here' without reading up on the subject is a bit unfair.

Thats not what I am saying at all. Im not saying it is rigorously researched, nor that the news gives any sense of proportion, but it creates a perception of persecution, and Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown go far to perpetuating that perception.

But these cases are based upon facts, and this taints opinion.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Im not saying it is rigorously researched
I'm talking about THIS particular case. The subject of this thread which is Walter Scott. I'm just telling you what his family, friends and acquaintances seem to be saying. If you don't want to believe them, that's fine.
 

BombDr

Senior Member.
I'm talking about THIS particular case. The subject of this thread which is Walter Scott. I'm just telling you what his family, friends and acquaintances seem to be saying. If you don't want to believe them, that's fine.

Im not doubting the circumstances Deirdre, nor the child support element. I am talking about the perception that a cop may kill a member of the public, with a lack of accountability, may not be rigorously researched by the community most at risk. The memes and the news reports are what most people probably think of, not hard statistical probability of being killed.

Regardless, my point is that even a minor altercation with a cop in the US is possible to escalate far beyond what is proportional and Mr Scott was likely (rightfully!) to have believed that the longer he stayed in contact with the cop, the chances of his survival lowered.

I have no way of knowing for sure, but it is possible that Mr Scott feared for his safety due to previous cases of people are shot by police.
 

occams rusty scissor

Senior Member.
I have no way of knowing for sure, but it is possible that Mr Scott feared for his safety due to previous cases of people are shot by police.

But if that's the case, why would he give the cop more excuse by struggling with him and attempting to flee? Seems a strange way to ensure your safety.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
That depends on the circumstances. It isn't always rational. Or in correct proportion.
Yeah, observer bias can make every scary cop incident reported on the internet stick in your mind while presumably thousands of daily routine cop interactions aren't reported on (because why would they be).

But it does seem a bit jarring to bring this up when the context is a man acting scared was killed by the cop he was scared of. Isn't fear in the face of the person who kills you pretty rational?
 

NoParty

Senior Member.
...a man acting scared was killed by the cop he was scared of. Isn't fear in the face of the person who kills you pretty rational?
Well, I guess that depends on how you look at it.

One could say that it looked like a pretty mundane, uneventful, not scary traffic stop
until Scott radically changed the calculus by bolting.

I'm obviously not going to argue that he deserved to die...but was there really any reason
to suspect that the cop was a physical threat to him, before he ran?
 
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