The family of Walter Scott held a press conference Tuesday night to remember their loved one and discuss the shooting that caused his death.
North Charleston Police officer Michael Slager, 33, was arrested Tuesday afternoon and charged with murder in Scott’s death.
Scott, 50, was a father of four and spent two years in the Coast Guard. His brother, Anthony, fought back tears as he spoke of Walter, saying he had two brothers but now only has one. Anthony described Walter as the extrovert of the family.
“He was the most outgoing out of all of us. He knew everybody. He knew family I didn’t know,” Anthony said. “He was an outgoing person, loving and kind. That was his nature.”
He also asked the community to keep the family in mind.
“I just ask that everyone continue to pray for my family that we get through this,” he said.
A recurring theme of the press conference was a simple question: What would have happened in this case if the shooting of Scott had not surfaced?
“If things happened when no one was watching, would we be here today, or would it have just been another victim?” family attorney Chris Stewart said. Stewart criticized official reports that Scott tried to take the officer’s Taser weapon. “But that wasn’t what happened,” he said. “And the truth came out.”
Local activist Elder James Johnson, president of the Charleston chapter of the National Action Network, said the family received the video of Scott’s shooting on Sunday, the day after the incident. That video was also released to the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division, which has been investigating the shooting.
“Hopefully from this tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina, police departments will come together and say enough is enough,” Johnson said.
Scott’s brother said the video should represent a challenge to police departments everywhere.
“You can see what the video shows. Let’s let the police departments reform themselves,” Anthony Scott said. “Because there has to be change.”
Stewart said he doesn’t expect any violence or riots in the area, and had a message on behalf of Scott’s family for anyone who might consider coming into the community to incite violence.
“The message is, what’s the point? Seeing that happen in other places, that does nothing whatsoever to help the situation. It only makes it worse. It only makes the next cop more excitable and more cautious or scared to defend himself when you react,” he said. “The best way is what happened today: just letting peace and calm and the right thing happen, fighting it legally.”
Stewart said the family is planning a civil lawsuit, but did not go into details.