CHARLESTON, S.C. (Reuters) – A white South Carolina patrolman charged with murder for shooting a black man in the back as he fled after a traffic stop will not face the death penalty if convicted, a prosecutor said on Monday.

None of the circumstances that allow lethal punishment apply in the April 4 shooting of 50-year-old Walter Scott by North Charleston police officer Michael Slager, said Scarlett Wilson, Charleston County’s chief prosecutor.

“Based on the facts revealed thus far, it does not appear South Carolina’s death penalty provision applies in this case because there are no statutory ‘aggravating circumstances’ present,” Wilson said in a statement.

Such factors include murders committed during a kidnapping, robbery, drug trafficking, or with poison or physical torture.

Scott’s death reignited a public outcry over police treatment of black Americans that flared last year after the killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, New York City, and elsewhere.

North Charleston fired Slager last week after he was charged with murder in Scott’s death. A cellphone video emerged showing him shooting at Scott’s back eight times as he ran away.

Slager was being held in Charleston County jail. He could face 30 years to life in prison if convicted.

In police dashboard camera video released Monday evening, Slager can be heard telling a fellow officer after the shooting he didn’t understand why Scott ran away.

“I don’t understand why he took off like that,” Slager said. “I don’t understand why he’d run.”

In a different case, Slager is accused of using excessive force during an August 2014 traffic stop in North Charleston in a lawsuit filed April 10 by Julius Wilson. Wilson was stopped for driving with a broken taillight, the same offense Scott was pulled over for the day he died.

Wilson says Slager and two other officers pulled him from his vehicle, restrained him face-down on the pavement and Slager fired a stun gun into his back.

A spokesman for the North Charleston police department declined to comment.

Another South Carolina man, Mario Givens, planned to file a lawsuit against Slager after his own complaint of abuse nearly two years ago was dropped after a brief police probe.

(Reporting by Harriet McLeod in Charleston, S.C.; Additional reporting and writing by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle and David Adams in Miami.; Editing by Peter Cooney and Doina Chiacu)

Related video:

North Charleston officer chuckled about adrenaline rush after shooting Walter Scott

‘Everything’s OK. … I just shot somebody,’ Officer Michael Slager says in a call

Jason Sickles, Yahoo

Yahoo News

Shortly after fatally shooting Walter Scott in the back, North Charleston police Officer Michael Slager nervously chuckled about his adrenaline “pumping,” but also assured a caller that things would be all right, according to new audio clips published by two media outlets.

“Hey. Hey, everything’s OK, OK?” Slager says in a phone call to someone believed to be his pregnant wife. “I just shot somebody. Yeah, he’s OK.”

If Slager meant Scott, then he wasn’t OK. Slager fired his .45-caliber Glock eight times. Four bullets struck Scott in the back and one hit him in the ear. He died at the scene.

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Fired officer Michael Slager is being held without bond for the fatal shooting of Walter Scott. (Charleston County Jail)

Fired officer Michael Slager is being held without bond for the fatal shooting of Walter Scott. (Charleston County …

The recording of the officer’s phone call and a conversation with a supervisor at the scene doesn’t show Slager — it’s audio only, from the patrolman’s uniform microphone that’s synched with his squad car’s dashboard camera.Last week, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) made public 4 minutes and 22 seconds of the dashcam video showing Slager stopping Scott for a broken taillight and then giving chase when Scott took off on foot prior to the shooting.

But on Sunday, The Guardian published quotes from audio after the fatal shooting. The newspaper said Slager’s patrol car picked up a total of about an hour of audio. On Monday, the Charleston Post and Courier obtained the same extended recordings.

Yahoo News emails to North Charleston Police and SLED, the agency investigating the shooting, were not immediately returned on Monday. Thom Berry, a spokesman for SLED, told The Guardian that he had not been able to confirm it, but that the person heard on the audio appears to have been Slager.

The April 4 shooting was captured on another video taken by a witness. Police and Slager initially said that Scott, 50, was shot after a skirmish over the officer’s Taser stun gun. But when the witness video showed Scott being shot eight times as he ran away, Slager was fired and charged with murder. The footage also shows Slager dropping an object — which has the appearance of a Taser — on the ground near Scott’s body.

In the audio clip the newspaper posted online, Slager answers a call after what sounds like an iPhone ringtone. After assuring the caller that he is OK, he appears to briefly describe what happened.

“He grabbed my Taser, yeah. Yeah, he was running from me. I’m good. I just wanted to let you know.”

[Related: Report: Charleston Co. prosecutor won’t seek death penalty against Officer Slager]

Through a spokeswoman, Andy Savage, Slager’s defense attorney, declined to discuss the new audio recordings.

The conversation between Slager and the unidentified supervisor appears to come from inside a patrol car. The dialogue is standard fare following an officer-involved shooting, but the sort of stuff that is rarely heard by the public.

“What happens next?” Slager, an officer for five years, can be heard asking. The supervisor tells him he’ll be transported to police headquarters before being taken home.

“Take your crap off, take your vest off, kind of relax for two or three,” the senior officer says.

“It’ll be real quick,” he continues. “They’re gonna tell you you’re gonna be out for a couple of days, and you’ll come back and they’ll interview you then. They’re not going to ask you any kind of questions right now. They’ll take your weapon and we’ll go from there. That’s pretty much it.”

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Walter Scott, a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard, was buried on Saturday in Summerville, S.C. (Photo: David Goldman, AP/Pool)

Walter Scott, a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard, was buried on Saturday in Summerville, S.C. (Photo: David Goldman, …

The supervisor tells Slager that it is likely to be a few days before he has to give an official account of what happened.

“The last one we had, they waited a couple of days to interview officially, like, sit down and tell what happened,” he says.

Then he leaves him with some advice.

“By the time you get home, it would probably be a good idea to kind of jot down your thoughts on what happened,” he says. “You know, once the adrenaline quits pumping.”

“It’s pumping,” Slager says, laughing nervously.

“Oh, yeah,” the senior officer replies. “Oh, yeah.”

Jason Sickles is a reporter for Yahoo News. Follow him on Twitter (@jasonsickles).

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FILE - In this March 12, 2015 file photo, people demonstrate across the street from the Ferguson Police Department. Whites in the United States approve of police officers hitting people in far greater numbers than blacks and Hispanics do, at a time when the country is struggling to deal with police use of deadly force against men of color, according to a major American trend survey. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

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FILE – In this March 12, 2015 file photo, people demonstrate across the street from the Ferguson Police Department. Whites in the United States approve of police officers hitting people in far greater numbers than blacks and Hispanics do, at a time when the country is struggling to deal with police use of deadly force against men of color, according to a major American trend survey. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Whites in the United States approve of police officers hitting people in far greater numbers than blacks and Hispanics do, at a time when the country is struggling to deal with police use of deadly force against men of color, according to a major American trend survey.

Seven of 10 whites polled, or 70 percent, said they can imagine a situation in which they would approve of a police officer striking an adult male citizen, according to the 2014 General Social Survey, a long-running measurement of trends in American opinions. When asked the same question — Are there any situations you can imagine in which you would approve of a policeman striking an adult male citizen? — 42 percent of blacks and 38 percent of Hispanics said they could.

These results come as Americans grapple with trust between law enforcement and minority communities after a series of incidents, including the deaths Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner on Staten Island, New York, both black men. Thousands of people protested in the streets last year after the deaths of 18-year-old Brown and 43-year-old Garner, who gasped “I can’t breathe” as police arrested him for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. But the survey shows the gap between whites, blacks and Hispanics long predates the recent incidents.

The poll results don’t surprise experts on American attitudes toward police, who say experiences and history with law enforcement shape opinions about the use of violence by officers.

“Whites are significantly more likely to give police officers the benefit of the doubt, either because they have never had an altercation with a police officer or because they tend to see the police as allies in the fight against crime,” said Ronald Weitzer, a George Washington University sociology professor who has studied race and policing in the U.S. and internationally.

However, blacks and Hispanics “are more cautious on this issue because of their personal experiences and/or the historical treatment their groups have experienced at the hands of the police, which is only recapitulated in recent disputed killings,” he said.

The General Social Survey is conducted by the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago. Because of its long-running and comprehensive set of questions about the public, it is a highly regarded source of data about social trends. Numbers from the 2014 survey came out last month, and an analysis of its findings on attitudes toward police and the criminal justice system was conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the General Social Survey.

Deep racial divides exist in other law enforcement areas as well:

— A larger number of blacks could approve police striking a murder suspect who is being questioned: 24 percent, compared to 18 percent of Hispanics and 12 percent of whites.

— At more than half of whites, 69 percent, and half of Hispanics approve of police hitting suspects trying to escape from custody but only 42 percent of blacks approve.

— Two-thirds, or 66 percent, of whites say they favor the death penalty for convicted murderers, while 44 percent of blacks and 48 percent of Hispanics agree.

— Almost everyone seemed to approve of police officers hitting suspects back when attacked with fists, but whites again outpaced blacks and Hispanics with their approval. Nine in 10 whites approved of police hitting a person when attacked by fists, with 74 percent of blacks and Hispanics agreeing.

Charles R. Epp, a University of Kansas professor and author of the book about race and police stops, said the majority of whites believe they are going to get “reasonable and fair” treatment from officers, and that encounters ending in violence are caused by the suspect.

“My strong sense is that African Americans and Hispanics have too often experienced or have heard of experiences of police officers acting unfairly, so they’re less willing to support the use of force by police officers,” Epp said. “They’re not sure it will be used fairly.”

There were areas of agreement: Similar small percentages of whites, blacks and Hispanics approved of police hitting suspects for using vulgar or obscene language toward an officer (9 percent for whites, 7 percent for blacks and 10 percent for Hispanics). Similar percentages agreed there is too little spending on law enforcement (47 percent of whites; 49 percent of blacks; 40 percent of Hispanics).

Unfortunately, we all know how this is going to turn out.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Police released hundreds of documents Friday related to the fatal police shooting of a 19-year-old man in Madison, including records that show he told his mother he trusted police after a 2014 arrest.

Tony Robinson Jr. called his mother from the Dane County jail last year after he was arrested for armed robbery. In a recorded call, his mother, Andrea Irwin, told him not to tell the police anything. Robinson said he had already told officers he had made a “dumb decision” and was involved in the incident, according to the documents, which show he otherwise had few interactions with police.

“I told the truth,” Robinson told his mother, according to the documents. “We broke into somebody’s house.”

He later told her that officers said “they would help me out.”

In an interview Friday with The Associated Press, Irwin stressed that the incident had nothing to do with her son’s death and she was tired of people judging her family. She said she never told her son not to trust police, but told him to not say anything and to get an attorney.

“Anybody with any decent sense would say the same thing to their child,” Irwin said.

“We are getting bashed and beat up and talked about and getting put down,” she added. “I’m getting tired of everything I say to be taken out of context. I just want my son to rest in peace.”

Robinson, who was biracial, was killed last month by Madison police officer Matt Kenny, who is white. Police have said Robinson assaulted Kenny in an apartment house after the officer responded to calls about Robinson allegedly attacking two people and behaving erratically. Prosecutors are deciding whether to charge Kenny in the shooting.

Protesters held rallies in Madison every day during the week after Robinson’s death. The protests were peaceful, but demonstrators accused police of racial prejudice and demanded that Kenny be fired and charged with homicide.

The records released Friday also show that Robinson had a few minor contacts with police growing up, including when he was beat up by two of his peers at a summer school program when he was 12. In December 2013, police responded to reports of a fight outside his home following a house party. Robinson told officers one of the men at the party insulted his mother and he escorted him outside but that they didn’t fight.

In January, his mother called police to report him missing after she told him to leave the house when he yelled at his younger brother. He returned to the house later that day, saying he left because he felt unappreciated.

Police also visited his home a handful of times to settle arguments between Irwin and Robinson’s father.

The records also detail Kenny’s use of force since 2011. He was exonerated in the fatal shooting of a 48-year-old man in 2007, in what the records said was a “suicide by cop” incident. Kenny, now 45, kneed a domestic violence suspect in the torso during a 2011 arrest, and kneed another man and pinned him to the ground in 2013 after the man threw a roundhouse punch at him.

We all have to be reminded every now and then! SMH


deion sanders nfl network

(Elsa/Getty Images)Deion Sanders Jr., the son of NFL legend Deion Sanders, is a football player at Southern Methodist University.

Because of Sanders’ lucrative pro career, it stands to reason that his son grew up well off. So when the younger Sanders recently tweeted about ordering “hood doughnuts,” his father roasted him on Twitter, reminding him of a $1 million trust fund and comparing him to the Huxtables from “The Cosby Show.”

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Colin Powell Still Sees ‘Dark Vein’ of Intolerance in GOP (ABC News)

Speaking on the day following the 50-year anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama, the first African-American Secretary of State Colin Powell said he still sees a “dark vein” of intolerance in the Republican Party, echoing comments that he made in 2013.

“I still see it. I still see it in the Republican Party and I still see it in other parts of our country. You don’t have to be a Republican to be touched by this dark vein,” Powell told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Sunday on “This Week.”

“We’ve come a long way, but there’s a long way to go. And we have to change the hearts and minds of Americans. And I see progress, especially in the younger generation,” Powell added.

Fifty Years After ‘Bloody Sunday,’ Obama Calls Selma a Place Where Meaning of America Was DefinedSelma Marches, Bloody Sunday Mark 50th AnniversaryThousands Gather for 50th Anniversary of ‘Bloody Sunday’President Obama, along with former President George W. Bush, was in Selma Saturday to mark the anniversary of the seminal moment in the civil rights movement. They were joined by Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, who was brutally beaten during the march out of Selma that day in 1965.

“What that bloody Sunday event did for the nation was to hold up a mirror in front of all Americans and said, ‘Look, this is what’s going on in this country. This cannot CONTINUE,'” Powell said.

Powell also echoed one of the theme’s of Obama’s speech in Selma, noting that while progress has been made on race relations, the “march is not yet over.”

“We’ve made enormous progress. If we hadn’t made progress, [President Obama] wouldn’t have been standing there, Eric Holder wouldn’t have been with him and I wouldn’t be here right now,” Powell said.

“But we still now have hurdles that we have to get over,” Powell added, noting the battle in some states over voter identification laws.

The former secretary of state also weighed in on the Justice Department report released this week that found systemic discrimination against African-Americans by the police department in Ferguson, Missouri.

Powell said he was “shocked” by the report, but was not taken completely off guard.

“I was shocked but not that surprised, frankly, George. I know these things have existed in other parts of our country. This shouldn’t have been that great a surprise to any of us. But it’s not throughout the country,” Powell said.

During the interview on “This Week,” Powell declined to comment directly on the controversy that has engulfed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton following revelations she used a private email ACCOUNT while she headed the State Department.

“I can’t speak to Mrs. Clinton and what she should do now. That would be inappropriate,” said Powell, who helped modernize the State Department through new COMPUTERS and early use of e-mail during his time as secretary of state.

“In order to change the culture, to change the brainware, as I call it, I started using it in order to get everybody to use it, so we could be a 21st century institution and not a 19th century,” Powell said of his own e-mail practices. “But I retained none of those e-mails and we are working with the State Department to see if there’s anything else they want to discuss with me about those e-mails.”

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Yesterday at GDC 2015, professor and game designer Derek Manns and Dennis Mathews of Revolution Interactive Studios held a roundtable discussion on black stereotypes in gaming. Early in the talk, Manns clarified that they wanted to discuss to talk about characters in games, but also stereotypes about black developers and gamers.

Manns also said that it was important for this to be a roundtable rather than a talk, because other people in the industry needed to share their experiences as well.

“Blacks in gaming should not just be about developing positive characters,” Manns said, “but also about what can be created by diversity in development.”

Manns noted that while the industry has seen some improvement in the last decade in its distribution of demographics, the percentage of black developers has increased a measly .5 percent — from 2 to 2.5 percent of all developers. Those stats come from the IGDA, which Mathews said is the only organization in gaming that is actively gathering analytics on demographics.

“stereotypes tie into publisher decisions of what should be put into games”

Taking over the roundtable, Mathews said that they’ve held a diversity talk through the IGDA every year. This year’s attendance — a very diverse group of around 50 or so —was the largest audience they’ve ever had.

Mathews said one of the sources of stereotypes in gaming comes early in the process, stemming from the very concept of a “target audience.” Developers attempt to pinpoint who will be playing their game and, in doing so, turn to stereotypes, even unknowingly.

“Those stereotypes tie into publisher decisions of what games get picked up and what should be put into games,” Mathews said.

As the roundtable opened up to audience participation, they started with stereotypes of what black people play. Manns brought up the notion that black people are primarily interested in sports games, like the Madden and NBA 2K series.

One audience member brought up the fact that the fighting game community is very diverse. Another audience member identifying himself as a developer working on a fighting game revealed that, according to his statistics, some 60 percent of people who play fighting games in the U.S. are African American.

“It’s not just about the genre,” said one audience participant. “It’s about what you get out of it.” He went on to say that many African Americans bought RPGs like Mass Effect and Dragon Age when he worked at GameStop years ago; we just don’t hear about it as much because those don’t inspire big public events such as fighting game tournaments.

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Street Fighter X Tekken Vega Raven screenshot 1280

Another attendee noted that one of the reasons stereotypes in gaming and a lack of black developers may exist is because of early console and PC distribution.

“First iterations of PCs and consoles like the PlayStation were missed in poorer, urban communities,” he said. “The developers inspired by those first iterations were white. They’re the ones making games now, and it shows in what they create.”

Mathews moved the conversation on to the question of what diversity is as a whole. He noted that issues dealing with African Americans are a narrow slice of diversity. “Diversity includes women, transgender, accessibility, disability,” he said.

Mathews summed up the biggest reason why diversity is needed in one phrase: “People don’t know what they don’t know.” He explained that often developers who aren’t black don’t even realize when they’re drawing on stereotypes because they don’t have any black coworkers to call it out.

“Hiring is done via word of mouth,” Mathews said. “It’s people you know you work well with, which often means people who are like you, which often means people who are the same race.”

“Can you trust yourself to create something about a type of person you’re not familiar with?”

For the last portion of the roundtable, the group moved onto a complex discussion of whether developers should try to create characters of other races, genders and cultures if they might not know or understand those races, genders and cultures themselves.

“Can you trust yourself to create something about a type of person you’re not familiar with?” one audience participant asked. She conceded that it’s possible, but you have to commit to doing the right research.

“You have the ability to create something that’s outside your culture,” another audience member said. “You just need to understand that it’s not your culture. We spend too much time trying to analyze if you’re authentic to an experience. Don’t be scared of trying something new and getting rejected.”

Others argued that said research should include specifically reaching out to and talking to people. “It’s not enough that you’re researching on the internet,” said one participant.

Another audience member shared an anecdote of his experience playing through the first Dead Space, where the main character was wearing a helmet for most of the game. “I wanted Isaac to be black so bad that I just assumed he was until he took off his helmet,” he said. “It doesn’t change the game, but it would have made it more special to me.”

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Assassin's Creed Freedom Cry screenshot 1400

Someone else in the audience agreed. He told a story about talking with a major triple-A developer about how much he liked the Freedom Cry downloadable add-on for Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag. “But it’s just more of the same,” the developer said.

“It might have been the exact same game, but it was a completely different game for me,” the audience member said. “I was a black guy saving other black guys from slavery.”

One audience member pointed to The Walking Dead’s Lee as a great black character specifically because he’s both African American and an “everyman” character. “Blackness is not a monolith,” he said.

Finishing with a discussion on how the industry can better address these issues, Manns said that more opportunities need to be given to black developers, especially by platform operators like Microsoft and Sony.

“Give us a deal for one game,” Manns said. “I have plenty of friends in this industry who are black developers and very talented, but I don’t have the money to pay them.”

“There’s no critical mass”

Some members of the crowd seemed hopeful that a “paradigm shift” in the industry is about to happen, especially with recent announcements about so game development engines like Source and Unreal being available for free.

Others were cautious. “There’s no critical mass,” said one audience participant. “There’s no line that says, ‘Hey, we’re good.’ It’s a constant gradient. As things grow, you have to keep pushing forward.”

Another audience member noted that change needs to start on an individual level, particularly with hiring managers. “If you’re a hiring manager, come to events like this, and if someone says something that impresses you, introduce yourself and exchange cards,” she said. “You have to realize that you yourself have a bias to hang out with people like you and hire people like you, so you have to actively fight against that bias.”

As the roundtable ended, Manns and Mathews highlight Blacks in Gaming, an organization in its first year of existence that is seeking talented people to fill leadership positions. They also promised more panels throughout the week further discussing the issues facing African American portrayals and representation in gaming.

Details On Harrison Ford's Plane Crash Onto A CA Golf Course

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Lawyers for the parents of an unarmed, black 18-year-old who was fatally shot by a white police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson said Thursday that they would file a civil lawsuit in Michael Brown’s death.

Attorney Daryl Parks said at a news conference in north St. Louis County that the City of Ferguson and former Officer Darren Wilson would be named in the wrongful death lawsuit, which they plan to file promptly.

The announcement came in response to the findings of a Justice Department investigation that charged the Ferguson police department with unfairly targeting blacks but cleared Wilson in Brown’s death.

Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, and his father, Michael Brown Sr., attended the news conference at Greater St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church, but they did not speak nor take questions.

Parks said the DOJ report makes it clear there are “rampant, wholesale, systemic” problems in the Ferguson police department that need to “change soon for the safety of the citizens.”

He did not say specifically when the suit would be filed. He said only that, “soon means soon.”