L. Chris Stewart, the Atlanta attorney representing the family of a South Carolina man shown in a video being shot by a white police officer, said Tuesday that the murder charges filed against that officer have brought “a short sense of relief and joy.”
“What happened today doesn’t happen all the time,” Stewart said in a news conference in North Charleston, S.C. “What if there was no video?”
The news conference was held just hours after a video was released that appears to show 50-year-old Walter L. Scott, who is black, being shot in the back eight times by North Charleston police Officer Michael T. Slager. Slager, who previously contended that he had shot Scott in a struggle over his Taser, was arrested and charged with murder.
Surrounded by members of Scott’s family — including his mother, whose cries of “Thank you, Lord” and “Hallelujah” punctuated parts of the news conference — Stewart said the shooting was about more than race.
“This was a cop who felt like he could just get away with shooting someone that many times in the back,” Stewart said. “… It speaks to the value of human life.”
According to Stewart’s website, he is the managing partner of Peachtree Street law firm Stewart, Seay and Felton, and has been named a “super lawyer” in the state of Georgia every year since 2011.
Stewart has also represented the family of Gregory Lewis Towns Jr., a 24-year-old who died after two East Point police officers used Tasers on him more than a dozen times. The City of East Point agreed to pay to settle a lawsuit in November.