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Police officers and traffic stops




NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - APRIL 08:  People participate in a rally to protest the death of Walter Scott, who was killed by police in a shooting, outside City Hall on April 8, 2015 in North Charleston, South Carolina. Video captured by a bystander showed officer Michael Slager shooting Scott as he ran away. Officer Slager has been charged with murder as a result of the incident.  (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - APRIL 08: People participate in a rally to protest the death of Walter Scott, who was killed by police in a shooting, outside City Hall on April 8, 2015 in North Charleston, South Carolina. Video captured by a bystander showed officer Michael Slager shooting Scott as he ran away. Officer Slager has been charged with murder as a result of the incident. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
Richard Ellis/Getty Images
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - APRIL 08:  People participate in a rally to protest the death of Walter Scott, who was killed by police in a shooting, outside City Hall on April 8, 2015 in North Charleston, South Carolina. Video captured by a bystander showed officer Michael Slager shooting Scott as he ran away. Officer Slager has been charged with murder as a result of the incident.  (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - APRIL 08: People participate in a rally to protest the death of Walter Scott, who was killed by police in a shooting, outside City Hall on April 8, 2015 in North Charleston, South Carolina. Video captured by a bystander showed officer Michael Slager shooting Scott as he ran away. Officer Slager has been charged with murder as a result of the incident. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
Richard Ellis/Getty Images


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This week news of a fatal shooting in North Charleston, South Carolina became a huge story.

Officer Michael Slager shot and killed Walter Scott, a 50-year-old resident of the city, after a traffic stop turned into an altercation. The incident, which was caught on video, shows Slager shooting Scott from behind as he was trying to flee.

Slager, who has since been arrested and charged with murder, claimed that he was in danger. But what precipitated the event is less known – Scott was pulled over for a minor traffic infraction.

Slate staff writer Jamelle Bouie wrote about the traffic stop, and how some police departments use traffic stops as a pretext for harassment and abuse.