walter scott

"I don't think he ever met an enemy": Man shot by police officer is laid to rest

A video of the shooting sparked outrage.

Police Officer Fatal Shooting The casket of Walter Scott is wheeled into W.O.R.D. Ministries Christian Center for his funeral AP AP

A CROWD GATHERED in Summerville, South Carolina today for the funeral of Walter Scott — the black driver who was fatally shot by a North Charleston police officer after fleeing a traffic stop.

Scott’s family arrived at WORD Ministries Christian Centre in a fleet of three black limousines that were followed by several other vehicles.

Organisers placed chairs in the church’s vestibule to accommodate the overflow crowd and ushered select people inside for the service.

APTOPIX Police Officer Fatal Shooting AP AP

Many who were in line and waited through a period of rain and humidity were unable to get into the sanctuary.

“You know, Walter touched a lot of people. He was very friendly with everyone. I don’t think he ever met an enemy. So, there’s a lot of people out here, just paying their respects to him and his legacy,” said Tyrone Johnson, a Charlotte North Carolina resident who said he went to high school with Scott and one of his brothers.

Police Officer Fatal Shooting AP AP

A monitor with video of the funeral showed Scott’s casket on an altar draped in an American flag.

The program said Scott, 50, was a devout Christian and expressed that by singing in his church choir.

Controversial death

Police initially said Scott was shot on April 4 during a tussle over Michael Slager’s department-issued Taser.

But witness video surfaced later, showing Scott being shot eight times as he ran away. Slager was fired and charged with murder.

Eddie Bryan AP AP

The incident sparked outrage as another instance of a white law enforcement officer fatally shooting an unarmed black man under questionable circumstances.

A steady stream of people gathered yesterday afternoon at a wake to pay their respects to Scott at a funeral home in downtown Charleston.

Scott’s open casket was adorned with a Dallas Cowboys sign and a miniature figure of a player.

Police Officer Fatal Shooting AP AP

A heart-shaped flower arrangement to the left of his casket during the wake read Beloved Father and a ribbon on the right read “St Andrews Parish High School Class of 1984.”

Some visitors expressed how bewildered they were with the circumstances that led to him lying there.

Scott was driving a 1991 Mercedes that he bought from a neighbour and was headed to an auto parts store when he was stopped, his brother Rodney Scott said. Police said he had a broken taillight.

Judy Scott AP AP

Video from the police car’s dashboard camera shows Slager asking Scott for his license and registration, then heading back to his cruiser before Scott gets out of the car and runs.

Scott’s relatives have said they suspect he fled Slager out of fear of being jailed again over missed child support payments.

Police Officer Fatal Shooting AP AP

At the time he was stopped, Scott, a father of four who worked as a warehouse forklift operator, owed more than $18,000 in child support and court fees, according to Charleston County records.

He last paid child support in 2012 and a bench warrant for his arrest was issued in early 2013. Scott had been in jail three times since 2008.

“His mission was to avoid the police as much as possible,” Rodney Scott said.

Rodney Scott said his brother would take long detours while driving to their parents’ house because he thought there were more police patrolling the direct, 10-minute route from his home. He said Walter also tried to make sure any vehicle he drove had working headlights and taillights.

Police Officer Fatal Shooting AP AP

Those who knew him remember Scott as lighthearted and gentle. They describe a laid-back, fun-loving man who took his girlfriend dancing on weekends.

Scott had been married twice, and proposed to his girlfriend Charlotte Jones about a week before he was killed.

Co-workers said Scott always seemed calm at work and would often stop to ask others how they were doing. He loved to talk about pro football, especially his favorite Dallas Cowboys, even in the spring, when the rest of the sports world had moved on to college basketball and March Madness.

Despite struggles to keep up with child support payments, Scott’s relatives said he stayed close to his four children — a 24-year-old daughter and three sons, ages 22, 20 and 16.

Read: Dashcam video shows Walter Scott and policeman moments before shooting>

Associated Foreign Press
Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.