Family members of a black man gunned down last week by a white North Charleston police officer plan to file a federal civil rights lawsuit, their attorney confirmed Thursday.
Atlanta lawyer Chris Stewart said 50-year-old Walter L. Scott’s rights were violated when he was fatally struck in the back by some of the .45-caliber bullets that Patrolman 1st Class Michael T. Slager fired at him Saturday morning.
“His life was taken unjustly,” Stewart said.
Slager has been jailed on a murder charge.
When the suit would be filed in U.S. District Court in Charleston was not yet certain, Stewart said.
The attorney also doesn’t know whether the filing would contain any racial component because that aspect of the encounter between Slager and Scott remains under investigation, Stewart said.
The suit will delve into any past incidents involving Slager, as well as his training, but Stewart said he would not “make this a color line battle” until doing more research.
FBI agents have been tasked with determining the civil rights implications of Scott’s death. They will work with state investigators to that end, the U.S. Department of Justice has said.
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.