An audio recording obtained by The Guardian reveals that the police officer who killed Walter Scott in South Carolina laughed about the incident with a superior just minutes after it took place.
The recording contains the voice of officer Michael Slager who shot Walter Scott in the back as he was running away from him. Slager then lied about the incident, saying that Scott had grabbed his taser and that he feared for his own life. The cover story was blown when video of the incident was made public by a witness.
On the recording, taken from Slager’s dashcam, which continued to record for an hour after the incident, the cop is heard talking with a senior officer about what is going to happen after the shooting had taken place.
“By the time you get home, it would probably be a good idea to kind of jot down your thoughts on what happened,” the senior officer is heard to say. “You know, once the adrenaline quits pumping.”
“It’s pumping,” Slager replies, while laughing. The senior officer replies: “Oh yeah. Oh yeah.”
The senior then remarkably tells Slager to go home and “relax,” and that he won’t have to talk about the incident for days, giving him time to get his story clear.
“Probably once they get you there, we’ll take you home. Take your crap off, take your vest off, kind of relax for two or three.” the senior officer says.
“It’ll be real quick,” he adds. “They’re gonna tell you you’re gonna be out for a couple of days and you’ll come back and they’ll interview you then. They’re not going to ask you any kind of questions right now. They’ll take your weapon and we’ll go from there. That’s pretty much it.”
The superior then once again tells Slager he won’t have to go on record with his version of events for a while. “The last one we had, they waited a couple of days to interview officially, like, sit down and tell what happened,” he tells the cop.
The audio also contains part of a cell phone call made to Slager.
“Hey. Hey, everything’s OK, OK?” Slager says into the phone. After some inaudible parts, the cop then says “He grabbed my taser, yeah. Yeah, he was running from me.”
The Guardian asked Thom Berry, a spokesman for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), to confirm whether the voice in the recording is indeed Slager. Berry said: “It appears that way. I have not been able to independently confirm it.”
The North Charleston Police Department has not responded to requests for comment.
The audio gives an insight into the lack of remorse that Slager was feeling in the immediate aftermath of killing another human being. To actually laugh about the incident is shocking, and this will no doubt only embolden the backlash and intensify an already extremely tense situation.