Witness who shot video of Walter Scott death speaks out

Feidin Santana (right) is the bystander who shot the Walter Scott shooting video. Santana spoke with NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt Wednesday, as seen in this image from the broadcast.

The man who filmed the slaying of Walter Scott on Saturday morning gave the video to the dead man’s family because he would “want to know the truth” if something similar were to happen to someone he cared about.

The cameraman, identified as Feidin Santana, spoke of the shooting and his decision Wednesday with NBC’s Lester Holt. Word of the arrest of Michael T. Slager, the 33-year-old lawman charged with murder in Scott’s death, was announced about an hour after North Charleston Police Chief Eddie Driggers watched the recording Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

Santana’s interview with Holt was the man’s first appearance since the recording was made public.

Santana was on his cellphone walking from his job when he noticed police chasing a man nearby, Santana said during the interview.

“I decided to go over there and see what was going on,” he said.

Scott, 50, and Slager were on the ground and involved in a struggle shortly before Santana began to film the incident, Santana said.

“I remember the police had control of the situation. He had control of Scott,” Santana said. “Scott was trying just to get away from the Taser.”

Santana heard the officer deploy the Taser, he said. Then he watched and filmed as eight bullets were fired toward the Scott’s back.

He knew right away that the video he had captured was important, he said.

When asked how he felt knowing that the video he recorded contributed to Slager’s murder charge, Santana responded that “it’s not something that no one can feel happy about. He has his family. Scott also has his family.”

“I think (Slager) made a bad decision,” Santana continued. “You pay for your decisions in this life.”

Scott’s family was “very emotional” when Santana presented the recording to them, he said, “including me also. ... If I were to have a family member (that happened to) I would like to know the truth.”

Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at Twitter.com/celmorePC.