Walter Scott, 50, had 10 arrests dating back to 1987, almost all related to failure to pay child support in full.
David Pate, associate professor of social work at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, stated in the International Business Times that most arrests of black men in arrears come during traffic stops.
“Black men live in constant fear, period. And I think the fear that Mr. Scott had was on different levels,” said Pate. “There needs to be more uncovering of how the child support system works and whether it helps families who are really poor. For families that are making less than $10,000 [a year], is it helping those children be in a better place when they know their parents are under constant stress of being locked up?”
Black men have the highest rate of non-payment, due to high unemployment, said Pate.
Scott was shot and killed Saturday after fleeing on foot from a traffic stop by Officer Michael Slager. Dashcam footage released Thursday shows that Scott was stopped and gave Ofc. Slager what documents he had without incident. Moments after Slager went back to his car, Scott opened his door and bolted in the opposite direction. Video footage by bystander Feidin Saldana shows a brief interaction with a taser, after which Scott continued to flee from the officer.
Ofc. Slager ceased pursuit, unholstered his service pistol, and delivered eight shots, six of which struck Scott in the back and head.
Footage also shows Slager throwing a dark object next to Scott’s body before other officers arrive.
Slager has been fired from the North Charleston Police Department, and has been charged with murder.