The Latest: Demonstrators march through rain to city hall

AP News
Posted: Apr 11, 2015 6:50 PM
The Latest: Demonstrators march through rain to city hall

6 p.m.

A group of marchers stood in the lobby of North Charleston City Hall discussing ways to move the community forward after Walter Scott's shooting.

Participants talked about how their lives have been touched by gun violence and law enforcement. Marchers chanted and sang as they began their walk.

Some wore shirts that said "No Target Practice," and "Stop Killing Us." One of the group's leaders wore a shirt with an empty Skittles bag fastened to it and an empty can of Arizona Iced Tea on a rope — a nod to Trayvon Martin, 17, who was fatally shot by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who was acquitted in his death.

5 p.m.

A small group of demonstrators who gathered in a grassy area across from police began their march through North Charleston under ominous skies. The group was led and trailed by police officers on motorcycles, patrol cars and SUVs.

Rain began falling shortly after the group began its march and grew heavier as thunder began rumbling throughout the area.

4:25 p.m.

Police are gathering in North Charleston at the site of a rally and march that are expected to begin Saturday afternoon.

Small groups of people got off of buses just after 4 p.m. Some stopped to take photos with the officers before gathering in a grassy area.

The event comes hours after the funeral of Walter Scott, a black man who was shot and killed while running from a white police officer during a traffic stop earlier this month.

Muhiyidin d'Baha of Black Lives Matter told people who gathered for a vigil at North Charleston City Hall on Friday night that demonstrations would be suspended Saturday in respect of Walter Scott's family and his funeral.

3:30 p.m.

The two black members of the South Carolina congressional delegation who attended the funeral for Walter Scott on Saturday say the tragedy is an opportunity for change.

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, a Republican, grew up in North Charleston where Scott was shot by a white officer last weekend in an incident caught in a dramatic video.

Scott said leaving the funeral that the tragedy is an opportunity for local law enforcement agencies to re-evaluate their operations. On the national level, he said, it's an opportunity to promote the use of body cameras by police agencies nationwide.

U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, a Democrat and the first black elected to Congress in South Carolina since the Reconstruction era following the Civil War, says that there needs to be minimum standards for law enforcement officers and perhaps national standards.

He says that evaluating an officer has to be more than whether that officer can shoot a gun or can use a stun gun.

1:00 p.m.

As the funeral for Walter Scott ended, Rev. George Hamilton, a minister at W.O.R.D. Ministries, told the overflow crowd that Scott's shooting "was an act motivated by overt racism."

Hamilton called Michael Slager, the former officer who shot Scott, a disgrace to the North Charleston Police Department. The congregation Hamilton spoke to included two black members of South Carolina' congressional delegation, Republican U.S. Sen. Tim Scott and U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, a Democrat.

"We will not indict the entire law enforcement community for the act of one racist," Hamilton said.

Authorities have not said whether race was a factor in Scott's death.

12:15 p.m.

The funeral for Walter Scott gets underway with many who waited outside being unable to get into the sanctuary for the service. Organizers put chairs in the church's vestibule to accommodate the overflow crowd.

The funeral program said Scott expressed his Christian faith by singing in his church choir. The program said he loved his family and friends and embraced others as relatives. The program also said Scott was a true Dallas Cowboys fan. His open casket during a wake in downtown Charleston on Friday showed a Cowboys sign and miniature player figurine near his body.

A tribute from Scott's family says: "We cannot judge what happens though tears and questions start. We only see what's visible God sees into the heart."

11 a.m.

The family of Walter Scott arrives at the church where his funeral is being held and is escorted by a group of eight police officers on motorcycles with flashing lights.

Scott's family arrived at the church in a fleet of three black limousines followed by several other vehicles.

Dozens of mourners who were lined up outside the church held up their cellphones trying to capture the scene as Scott's casket was unloaded from the hearse and wheeled into the church.

10:45 a.m.

A crowd gathered at W.O.R.D. Ministries Christian Center in Summerville, South Carolina for Walter Scott's funeral. Scott was fatally shot April 4 after fleeing a traffic stop in North Charleston, about 20 miles away.

The officer who shot 50-year-old Scott, Michael Slager, initially said he fired at Scott after a tussle over his department-issued Taser. However, video recorded by a witness showed the officer shooting Scott eight times as he ran away.

The incident sparked outrage as another instance of a white law enforcement officer fatally shooting an unarmed black man under questionable circumstances.

A hearse being escorted by two police officers on motorcycles drove up as the growing crowd looked on. Mourners waited through a period of light rain while flowers were unloaded and brought inside the sanctuary.