When Routine Police Stops Turn Violent

ABC News' Pierre Thomas and Dan Abrams and former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly on Walter Scott's killing in South Carolina.
7:33 | 04/12/15

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:



Skip to this video now

Now Playing:


Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for When Routine Police Stops Turn Violent
In this week's "Closer look" that horrific police shooting in South Carolina. So much of the country shocked by the video of officer Michael Slager killing Walter Scott with eight shot the back. His funeral in North Charleston Saturday. Steve osunsami is in the city united in grief. Good morning, Steve. Reporter: Good morning to you, George. This morning, one family is waking up having just buried a son. The other is hoping their son will regain his freedom. At Walter Scott's funeral, they said they're not sure his race played a role in his killing, caught in this cell phone video seen around the world. Police reports officer Slager said he thought Scott was going for his stun gun and feared for his safety. His lawyers say they'll be conducting their own investigation. But now, state police say they were suspicious of Slager's account from the start. Police have interviewed the unidentified passenger in the Scott car from the start of this. He doesn't want to speak publicly. North Charleston police are buying body cameras for every officer on the police force. It's not lost on anyone here that the narrative of this shooting would have been entirely different if it weren't for that cell phone video. George? No question about that, Steve, thanks. This shooting, the latest and most chilling in a series of police confrontations. That have spun out of control. Hi is it happening so often? Will this video make a difference? Pierre Thomas reports. All right. I'll be right back with you. Reporter: The FBI has launched an investigation that will dissect every aspect of the killing of Walter Scott, frame by frame. The critical question they must resolve is why? Why did the officer fire those shots in Scott's back? Did he have a reason to fear for his safety or that of others? Why did this escalate and turn into a deadly confrontation? Questions that have emerged time and time again recently, as controversial police encounters with minorities caught on tape are shown with stark details. July 2014. Eric garner choked after being confronted for allegedly selling cigarettes illegally. September 2014. A black man pulled over in south Carolina for a seat belt violation. Shot repeatedly when reaching for his license. Watch what happens to this family in Indiana. Window smashed. Father tased. It does make us back up. It does make us wonder what is going on in our environment? As it relates to men of color and police officers across this country. Reporter: Cedric Alexander serves on a new task force that has called for a number of changes, including increased community policing. Better use of technology. And improved training and education. We have to better train police officers. And we all have to be very much conscious in what our implicit and explicit biases may be. Reporter: The biases may account for more force used against minorities. No complete data on officer-related violence. One group estimate that while african-americans make up 14% of the population, they're 40% of the deaths at the hands of police in 2014. Coming on the heels of Ferguson, with more issues between police and minorities caught on tape, law enforcement and civil rights leaders say we stand at a critical moment. And Pierre joins us along with our legal analyst, Dan Abrams and the long-time police commissioner here in New York City, ray Kelly. Commissioner Kelly, let me begin with you. I was struck by one New York City cop told "The Washington post." He said the S Carolina also shot all of law enforcement in the back. A lot of cops feel that way. Yeah, I talked to a lot of cops this past week. And their uniform is sickened by it. Unfortunately, it's seen as suspicions confirmed in a lot of communities. Especially with the object dropped near the body. Absolutely. It's not only the inappropriate use force but evidence that's planted. Here we have a 70-second video that lays out the whole scenario. A video that we'll be seeing a lot of for years to come. You've been on before. You were skeptical of body cameras. This is changing your views? It has changed my mind. We have to assume that this officer would not act the way he did if, in fact, he had a body camera that was recording. I mean, you have to use logic. I think what you'll see -- I think it's a game-changer. You'll see a movement now by many more police departments to go to cameras. There are issues with it. There are problems with it. But this trumps all of them. The video changes everything. You believe he would have been indicted, but it would have played out in a very different way. Very differently. There would have been a fight over exactly what happened. There would have been bullets in the back. Right? It would have been incredibly important evidence. Numerous bullets in the back that this officer would have to explain. But the tape provides the roadmap for the entire prosecution. If there had not been the tape, you would have had a battle over each and every one of those bullet wounds saying, well, we were fighting here. There was a battle there. And I was turning. And you would have a battle of the experts. The tape makes it easy. And this takes the plea bargain for manslaughter off the table. There will be no plea bargain offer by these prosecutors. They can't as a political matter. As practical matter. You watched that video tape. This is going to be a murder case. Whether a jury hears all the evidence and says, you know what, we believe it may have been heat of passion, he was worked up, this officer. Maybe he gets a manslaughter conviction, that's possible. But there's though -- no way these prosecutors are going to deal. We're seeing this again and again and again. Seemingly routine confrontation spin out of control. How can training address this? The primary thing, and I've seen it in many cases on ride-alongs with police officers, the best officers seek to deescalate situations. And training often teaches officers to do that. What people have been concerned about is the notion that something routine, a traffic stop, escalates to the point where violence is used on the victim in these ways. It's just stunning. What is the key in training? Well, there's a lot of reasonably good training done throughout the country. Regional training centers. I think you have to focus more on screening. Who is being hired for these jobs? It's not easy because there are lots of civil service laws and rules. I think the standards have to be raised throughout America. And the cameras will change everything. I think what the commissioner was saying a minute ago about this idea, the police are going to think twice. I think it's a problem for them and it will help them. It can defend them. Where people say, well, look, this guy was beating me up. Okay. Let's look at the video camera. I think that the cameras in all of these cases will ensure a level of decorum and following the law because they know that everything is on tape. One, to piggy back on what ray said, a lot of people in the african-american community have been saying for awhile this kind of thing does happen. The tape is the hard evidence that it does occasionally happen. It sure does. Up next, the gop candidate

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"duration":"7:33","description":"ABC News' Pierre Thomas and Dan Abrams and former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly on Walter Scott's killing in South Carolina.","mediaType":"default","section":"ABCNews/ThisWeek","id":"30262611","title":"When Routine Police Stops Turn Violent","url":"/ThisWeek/video/routine-police-stops-turn-violent-30262611"}