Court records released on Friday revealed that there was no active warrant for Walter Scott’s arrest before he was shot and killed in North Charleston, S.C., last weekend.
Scott reportedly owed more than $7,800 in back child support and legal fees before the incident, according to court documents. He had served three jail sentences over late family debts and hadn't paid any child support since July 2012.
But The Associated Press reported that no bench warrant had been issued for Scott, 50, when police officer Michael Slager, 33, opened fire on him Saturday in an incident caught on video that made headlines nationwide. Slager has been fired and charged with murder.
Court documents show Scott’s legal troubles with child support began in 2008.
In the first incident, he was caught in a traffic stop and additionally charged with an open container violation and driving under suspension. Scott served half a year behind bars for those offenses, all while owing $6,800.
He then spent a night in jail for $7,500 in back fees in 2011. After that, court documents said, he also received another evening in captivity for $3,500 he owed in 2012.
South Carolina police on Thursday released dashboard camera footage of Slager stopping Scott’s green Mercedes-Benz over a broken brake light.
Video of the incident was also recorded on a cell phone and then leaked Tuesday. The witness behind the first video came forward on Thursday and said Slager had abused his power over Scott during the incident.
“Mr. Scott didn’t deserve this,” Feidin Santana told host Lester Holt on NBC’s “Nightly News.”
“The police officer had control of the situation,” he said of Slager’s actions. “There were other ways to get him arrested, and that wasn’t the proper way to do that.”
Scott’s family has speculated he fled from Slager over fears he was facing another arrest for back child support.