SC Officer Was Accused of Excessive Force in 2013

In another incident involving an unarmed black man
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 9, 2015 8:45 AM CDT
SC Officer Was Accused of Excessive Force in 2013
This photo provided by the Charleston County, S.C., Sheriff's Office shows Patrolman Michael Thomas Slager on Tuesday, April 7, 2015.   (AP Photo/Charleston County Sheriff's Office)

The death of Walter Scott was not the first time Michael Slager has been accused of using excessive force on an unarmed black man. In 2013, the former South Carolina police officer was accused of barging into a North Charleston home and tasing a resident, Mario Givens, for no apparent reason. Givens tells his story in an AP exclusive, recalling that after he answered the pre-dawn knock, Slager wouldn't tell him why he wanted to come in and finally shoved the door open. Givens raised his arms over his head, but says Slager tased him anyway. (The Daily Beast notes that North Charleston cops have been called out for using Tasers excessively, and disproportionately so on black people.) Another officer came in and both dragged Givens outside, threw him to the ground, and cuffed him, he says. He was put in a squad car and accused of resisting the police, but was ultimately released without charge and filed a formal complaint the next day.

Slager had gone to the house because Maleah Kiara Brown, the ex of Givens' brother Matthew, had reported waking up in her own nearby home to find Matthew Givens in her bedroom. She went with the officers to the Givens home and, she tells the AP, she screamed to the officers that they had the wrong man—she had provided them with a description of Matthew, 5-foot-5; Mario is over 6 feet tall. She agrees with Mario Givens that he was not resisting when he was tased. She told a police supervisor what she witnessed, but none of those details made it into the investigative report after Givens complained—she says that she was never contacted as part of the internal investigation. Givens says he wasn't either, nor were other witnesses who had also contacted police and were willing to give statements, and when he went to ask the status six weeks after complaining, he was told the case had been closed. In the wake of Scott's death and Slager's firing, a police rep says the case will now be reviewed. (More Michael Slager stories.)

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