Slager was charged and arrested for the alleged murder Tuesday and is in custody but has not yet had to enter a plea. His new lawyer, Andy Savage, who was retained by Slager after his first lawyer dropped his case after the release of the witness video, issued a statement to ABC saying that it is “too early for us to be saying what we think.”
In the meantime, the strongest piece of evidence in the case is footage that a witness captured on his cellphone but even that leaves a number of questions unanswered.
What Did Police Officer Michael Slager Drop by Walter Scott’s Body?
The witness video shows that after a second officer arrives on the scene, Slager walks away from Scott, whose body is lying face down on the ground and has been handcuffed. Slager appears to bend down to the ground. Moments later, the footage seems to show that he has an object in his right hand that was not there before he bent down.
Slager then goes back toward Scott. A slowed-down, rotated version of the video appears to show Slager dropping an object from his right hand. It lands near Scott's body. At this point, a second officer has arrived on the scene. It is unclear what the object is. Scott’s family has said publicly they believe the object is a stun gun but that has not been confirmed by any investigating authority.
Feidin Santana, the witness who recorded the video of the fatal shooting, told ABC News he saw the officer drop something by Scott's body but he could not be certain what it was.
"I saw that he dropped something," Santana said of Slager. "He picked it up and he put it back down."
Who Was The Passenger In Scott’s Car When He Was Pulled Over?
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, which is the state authority tasked with investigating the incident, released dash-cam footage Thursday from Slager’s police car that shows there was another individual in Scott’s car when he was pulled over for a broken taillight.
The passenger appears to remain in the vehicle when Scott runs off, and the person has not yet been publicly identified.
Was There a Struggle Between Scott and Slager?
Arguably the biggest question in this case comes from the gap between the dash-cam footage and the witness video. Scott is seen running from his car pulled over to the side of the road and the beginning of the witness footage takes place on a nearby path on the other side of a chain-link fence from where Santana recorded the video on his phone.
Slager called in that he was in a foot pursuit of a subject and had deployed his Taser. He later called in saying, according to the police incident report. "Shots fired and the subject is down, he took my Taser," he said. It is unclear whether there was a physical confrontation between the two men that prompted the use of the Taser, and Slager has not publicly commented on the case.
Would Slager Have Been Charged with Murder If There Were No Video?
The video was not released publicly or shown to police until Tuesday, three days after the fatal shooting, and the witness who recorded the footage said the reason he started sharing the video was because the North Charleston police department’s version of events that was being reported up until then was “opposite” of what he had seen, Santana told ABC News.
Even North Charleston Mayor R. Keith Summey admitted Tuesday afternoon that the video played a major role in deciding to charge Slager with murder.
“The video is very demonstrative of exactly what happened,” Summey said Tuesday. “Without the video, and that was the only witness there was, it would be difficult to ascertain directly what did occur.”