The white South Carolina police officer charged with murder in Saturday's shooting death of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, was the subject of a 2013 complaint regarding his use of force against a suspect, but he was exonerated of any wrongdoing, NBC News reports.
Michael Slager also had two additional complaints registered against him during his five-year tenure with South Carolina's North Charleston Police Department. In September of 2013, a man alleged that the officer used his Taser without just cause and slammed him to the ground. Again, Slager was ultimately cleared after an internal investigation.
In last weekend's incident, Slager is shown on video footage firing his weapon eight times, killing Scott, who was seen running away from the officer. Slager initially said Scott, 50, tried to take his stun gun during a scuffle following a traffic stop for a broken tail light, according to the New York Times report. The emergence of the video directly contradicted Slager's account, resulting in his arrest and murder charge Tuesday.
â€” AMC (@Truthbuster) April 8, 2015
He faced another complaint early this year involving a failure to file a police report in January, but it was unclear whether he faced any disciplinary action, NBC reported. Prior to those two instances, Slager had never been disciplined by the department, Reuters said. It is not clear if either of the previous incidents involved black complainants.
The officer, 33, who previously worked as a waiter and spent a number of years with the Coast Guard, has two stepchildren and a pregnant wife. Before joining the police, Slager's 2009 job application to the police force indicated Slager had not been convicted of a felony in the prior seven years. Police documents showed that Slager was "enthused" to report for duty early in his career and that the officer had been calm in a "tricky situation" in March 2010.
The NBC report also found Slager routinely passed his certifications, including a firearms qualification in August 2014 and an annual training that same year involving subjects that included ethics, bias-based profiling and Taser use.
The video of the fatal shooting, uncut and graphic in nature, can be seen below.