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Beck calls South Carolina police shooting a ‘criminal act’

LOS ANGELES — Police Chief Charlie Beck said Thursday that video footage of a South Carolina police officer’s fatal shooting of a black man clearly showed a “criminal act,” and said he also would have arrested the officer.

“Based on what I have seen, based on the video … it is a criminal act,” Beck said.

“It is well beyond any policies of the Los Angeles Police Department, and I would have done exactly what the chief in Charleston did. I would have arrested the officer,” he said.

A video recording of Michael Slager, a North Charleston police officer, shows him firing multiple shots at 50-year-old Walter Scott, who appeared to be fleeing and about 15 to 20 feet away. Scott was shot five times.

The video — recorded with a cell phone by a bystander — led prosecutors to charge Slager with murder. Slager, who is white, had initially said in his police report that he feared for his own life and that Scott had taken his Taser stun gun.

Slager had pulled Scott over, claiming a taillight on his Mercedes-Benz was not working.

A police dashboard camera video shows Scott running out of his Mercedes-Benz just as Slager was walking back to his patrol car. The shooting occurred out of the camera frame.