Man behind US cop video ‘fears for life’
The man who filmed the police killing of an unarmed African American man in the US state of South Carolina says he fears for his life after his identify was revealed.
Feidin Santana recorded video of North Charleston white police Officer Michael Slager firing multiple times at 50-year-old Walter Scott as the victim was running away on Saturday.
The fatal incident follows similar high-profile ones that led to deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Tamir Rice in Cleveland, and Eric Garner in Staten Island, which caused nationwide protests across the US against police brutality.
In interviews with MSNBC and NBC broadcast on Wednesday evening, Santana said his life has changed in a matter of seconds and that people already know where he lives and work.
Santana, a 23-year-old barber originally from the Dominican Republic who is a permanent US resident, said he needs protection.
Footage shows police officer Michael Slager firing eight times at unarmed African American Walter Scott as he is running away.
Santana told NBC he considered staying anonymous after filming the brutal incident.
“I was scared. I am still scared. But I decided to show my face. My life has changed. People know where I live and where I work. I thought about staying anonymous but everyone including the police know who I am,” he said.
“If I were to have a family member that would happen [to], I would like to know the truth. Mr. Scott didn’t deserve this, and there were other ways that can be used to get him arrested, and that wasn’t the proper way to do that,” Santana added.
Slager was charged on Tuesday with first-degree murder hours after police investigated Santana’s video showing the killing.
The footage shows Scott, the victim, running away as the police officer points the weapon and fires multiple times at him. Scott fell down to the ground after the last shot was fired. The officer was shown walking over calmly and handcuffing Scott’s arms behind his back.
Slager said he “ran to his job” after filming the fatal shooting.
“I know what I saw and I expressed myself to them [the police]. It was an abuse and I saw with my own eyes. I said I had a videotape. One of the cops said to ‘wait over there’, and I realized that would not be good in that moment. I ran to my job.”
Santana told MSNB that he thought about erasing the video. “I felt that my life, with this information, might be in danger.”
“I know the cop didn’t do … the right thing. And like I say, I feel kind of scared about that,” he revealed.
Rights groups say the shooting death of Scott by police is another example of the human rights violations that happen all over the United States.