Death of Walter Scott makes former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly a supporter of police body cameras

The shooting of an unarmed black man by a cop in South Carolina has made former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly a believer in police body cameras. “It has changed my mind,” Kelly, formerly a camera skeptic, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “Because we have to assume that this officer would not act the way he did if in fact he had a body camera that was recording.” North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager was caught on video taken by a bystander shooting a fleeing Walter Scott in the back repeatedly. Slager has been charged with murder. “I think it is a game changer,” Kelly said. “What you will see is a movement now by many more police departments to go to cameras. There are issues with it, there are problems with it, but this trumps all of those problems.” The former top cop said good officers are disgusted by the video. “I’ve talked to a lot of cops this past week, and they’re uniformly sickened by it. Unfortunately, it’s seen as suspicions confirmed in a lot of communities,” he said. Continue Reading

‘Breaking Bad’ creator to fans: Stop throwing pizzas on roof of Walter White house; ‘It’s not cool’

"Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan has a message for fans tossing pizzas on the roof of Walter White's house: tread lightly. In a podcast interview about his new spin-off show "Better Call Saul," Gilligan called out the jerks who have been flinging pies onto the Albuquerque, N.M., house that served as the iconic meth cook's pad on the show, irking the couple who lives there. "There is nothing original or funny or cool about throwing a pizza on this lady's roof," Gillian fumed on the show. "It's just not funny, it's been done before. You are not the first." Tough guy actor Jonathan Banks, who played enforcer Mike Ehrmantraut and joined Gillian on the podcast, backed his boss, vowing to "hunt down" anyone caught pulling the stunt. "If you…are doing that, straight your ass up man, because it's not cool…you don't treat people that way," Banks growled. The aggravating caper is a reference to an infamous moment in Season 3 when an irate Walt hurled a pizza onto the roof of his one-story rambler after his wife Skyler rejected the pepperoni-topped peace gesture. Gilligan called the people who live in the home "the nicest people in the world" and said they've always been accommodating to polite fans who stop by to snap a few photos. "(It's always been okay with her) that people come by and visit and get their picture taken in front of the house, just so long as they do it within reason, they do it in a respectful manner," Gilligan said. He later asked fans to jot down the license plate number of anyone seen slinking around the property with a pizza box. "We love our fans; I don't love those fans," Gilligan said. "I don't even consider them fans, I consider them jagoffs." Jump to 3:10 in video to hear Gilligan and Banks discuss the pizza problem Continue Reading

Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Beau Biden, hospitalized at Walter Reed

Vice President Joe Biden's eldest son, who has been marshaling support for a run at governor of Delaware, has been hospitalized. Beau Biden is undergoing treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., the vice president's office confirmed Tuesday. No one would disclose why Biden had been getting treatment or his condition. The 46-year-old Biden suffered a "mild stroke" in May 2010 and underwent surgery at a Texas cancer center in August 2013 to remove a small lesion on his brain. He stepped down as the state's attorney general last year after two terms anticipating a run at governor in 2016. "I didn't anticipate we were going to do anything until this summer," Timothy Mullaney, Biden's former chief of staff, told the Delaware News Journal. "Last time we talked he was fine, there was nothing that was going to stop him from running." Biden joined Wilmington law firm Grant & Eisenhofer in January. The firm announced three weeks ago that Biden would be expanding his work there on behalf of whistleblowers. Biden also served a stint in Iraq with the Delaware Army National Guard in 2009. With News Wire Services Follow on Twitter @jmolinet Continue Reading

Accused killer cop Michael Slager fired by North Charleston PD, as Walter Scott’s brother says officer used victim ‘for target practice’

The brother of South Carolina police shooting victim Walter Scott says the white cop “was using my brother for target practice." "It was totally senseless," Rodney Scott told the Daily News on Wednesday. "I mean, eight shots? That was totally cold-hearted murder as far as I'm concerned." Scott's brother spoke out after Officer Michael Slager was fired by the North Charleston Police Department for fatally shooting the unarmed black man in the back on Saturday. Slager was charged with murder on Tuesday after a sickening cellphone video of him killing Scott surfaced. “We were shocked, definitely shocked" by the video, Rodney Scott said. "I'm angry, but he's going to have to give an account for what he did, that was just a horrible thing that he did." Rodney Scott, 48, said he will bury his brother — a father of four and a U.S. Coast Guard veteran — on Saturday. He said he doesn’t believe Slager’s claim that he stopped his brother because of a broken brake light. “I knew my brother was always on the run for child support,” he said. “He made sure in every vehicle that all the lights were working. He would say, ‘I don't want to get stopped by police’.” S.C. COP MICHAEL SLAGER CHARGED WITH MURDER OF WALTER SCOTT But the grieving Scott brother said he would pray for Slager. "I hope he can make his peace with God knowing he hurt a family," he said. "He made a bad choice. All I can say is he has to get it right with God and I hope he can." Scott, 50, was engaged to the mother of University of Mississippi defensive end Fadol Brown, who considered him a father figure. “Walter Scott was my step dad,” Brown tweeted. “I loved him to death that cop didn't have to shoot him down like a dog like that ... gone miss you man.” Slager, 33, was arrested Tuesday after the telltale video was released by Continue Reading

Officer Michael Slager laughed about ‘pumping’ adrenaline after killing Walter Scott: recording

South Carolina cop Michael Slager laughed about his “pumping” adrenaline shortly after he gunned down an unarmed black man, a new recording revealed. The North Charleston patrolman talked to a senior cop about what to expect after he fired five rounds into Walter Scott’s back in the deadly April 4 shooting. The senior officer suggested he jot down his thoughts once his adrenaline stopped pumping. “It’s pumping,” Slager said with a laugh. “Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah,” the other officer replied. The recording obtained by The Guardian newspaper emerged on Sunday as the Rev. Al Sharpton praised North Charleston’s mayor and police chief for their quick, decisive response to the killing. The city fired Slager shortly after a witness’ cell phone video surfaced, contradicting the officer’s claims he blasted the 50-year-old during a defensive struggle for his stun gun following a traffic stop. FORMER NYPD TOP COP NOW SUPPORTS POLICE BODY CAMS Scott was sprinting away from Slager when the patrolmen opened fire, the video showed. Slager was swiftly jailed on murder charges after authorities saw the disturbing footage. “What the mayor did is what we’ve asked mayors to do all over the country,” Sharpton told a crowd gathered inside Charity Missionary Baptist in North Charleston. The day of the shooting, Slager was busy trying to figure out his next move. “What happens next?” Slager asked in the recording captured by a patrol car dashcam. The senior officer explained other cops would bring him back to the station, take his gun and then they’d send him home before asking any serious questions. EDITORIAL: THE CRIMINAL KILLING OF WALTER SCOTT “Probably once they get you there, we’ll take you home,” the officer told Slager. “Take your crap off, take your vest off, kind of relax for two or Continue Reading

Video of South Carolina cop shooting Walter Scott is ‘going to cost’ police dearly: NYPD counter terrorism chief

The video of a white cop in South Carolina shooting and killing a fleeing black man is "going to cost" New York cops and police across the country dearly, the NYPD's counter terrorism head said Thursday. "This video is going to cast a pall for a time," NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence & Counter-Terrorism John Miller said on CBS This Morning. "People are going to come back to this video when they hear a police account of things and they're going to say, 'Well, what about that case?'" North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager was fired and is facing murder charges for shooting Walter Scott eight times following a Saturday morning traffic stop. Slager, 33, initially told his superiors that Scott, 50, took his Taser. He also said he feared for his life during a struggle with the older man. GUEST COLUMN: FEDS MUST FIND STATS ON BLACKS KILLED BY COPS His claims were questioned when a video taken at the scene shows Scott more than 15 feet away as Slager opens fire. Miller said NYPD officers are trained to use deadly force against a fleeing suspect only if there is a high probability that the person will immediately harm or kill someone else. "If you have a fleeing suspect, and remember we don't have a fleeing felon here as far as we know, we have a fleeing guy with a broken tail light, you are supposed to chase that person down and use whatever force is necessary at that point," Miller said. "If someone is running away from you, they don't pose a threat to you." Continue Reading

Lupica: Cop was the bad guy with a gun in Walter Scott shooting

Here was Walter Scott, a black man in America running for his life even if he didn’t know it at the time, running the way black men probably ran from men with guns 150 years ago in South Carolina. Here was Walter Scott about to take four bullets in the back and one to the ear, the victim running away from the white cop this time instead of coming at him, the way Michael Brown did in Ferguson, Mo., before another white cop who said he feared for his life took out Brown. MOM OF S.C. COP 'CAN'T' WATCH SHOOTING FOOTAGE OF WALTER SCOTT There was no video like this in Ferguson when Officer Darren Wilson shot Brown dead in the street. But there was in North Charleston, S.C., a young man named Feidin Santana shooting video of Officer Michael Slager with his phone as Slager was putting one bullet after another in Scott’s back. So this was another home video sent out by America to the rest of the world it still says it wants to lead in something other than shooting people dead, sometimes in broad daylight. This really was Walter Scott getting gunned down like it was 1860 in South Carolina, by a white cop who thought he could get away with doing that because of a dispute that started with a traffic stop. Maybe this is one South Carolina version of modern policing — broken tail-light policing, instead of broken windows. You stop the black man in the car and Taser him and then give him a running start — in the opposite direction, in that way the opposite of Ferguson — before you open fire. “This is what passes for progress right now in America, even if it’s morbid progress,” Wesley Bell of Ferguson, Mo., says. “This happened on Saturday and already the officer has been charged with murder.” Bell is a 40-year-old professor of criminal justice and legal studies at St. Louis Community College, one of two African-Americans elected this week to the Ferguson Continue Reading

Families of victims killed by cops unite after death of Walter Scott

The South Carolina shooting death of an unarmed black man at the hand of a white cop has ripped open the wounds of people whose loved ones have suffered a similar fate. The widow of Eric Garner, the Staten Island father of six who died in a police chokehold in July, broke down in sobs Wednesday during an emotional panel discussion on police brutality. “I was in my room and I looked at the news and they showed just a small clip of his (Garner’s) video and I started crying,” said Esaw Garner. “My son came in the room and he said ‘Ma, what’s wrong?’ I said, ‘Eric, I just feel so alone.’ ” The widow joined the relatives of four other people killed by cops in New York City and across the county at the annual National Action Network Convention at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel. The family members were scheduled to speak of the heartbreak they’ve endured in the aftermath of their own nightmares. But the event was overshadowed by the Saturday shooting of Walter Scott, 50, in North Charleston, S.C. Cellphone video released Tuesday captured the unarmed Scott, a Coast Guard veteran, being shot in the back by Officer Michael Slager, who was immediately arrested on murder charges. ACCUSED KILLER COP MICHAEL SLAGER FIRED, REMAINS IN JAIL Mayor de Blasio told the 6,000 attendees that the video of Scott being gunned down as he tried to get away from Slager was “disturbing and painful.” “You can’t watch that as a human being and not feel pain,” de Blasio said. “It makes no sense, according to what our core notions of humanity and decency and justice are.” Ben Carson, a potential Republican presidential contender, also condemned the shooting during a speech at the NAN convention. Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, called Scott’s death “an execution without a trial in the streets of Continue Reading

Liz Smith reflects on legendary gossip career; dishes on Kardashians, Barbara Walters, Donald Trump

Liz Smith is a gossip legend — but even she has trouble telling the Kardashians apart. The 92-year-old gossip columnist spoke about her decadeslong career in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, which has seen her cover Tinseltown’s most iconic stars since the 1950s. Smith has written about hundreds of stars ranging from Jackie Onassis to Oprah, but admitted she has trouble keeping track of the Kardashian clan. “Oh, I don’t even know who they are!” the columnist said about the famous family. “Suddenly you have to remember a dozen Kardashians, and really, who has the time? “The only reason I can do that is because I’ve written out their names on a piece of paper stuck on the wall. And still, I’m always having to check, is that Khloe or Kourtney or Kendall or Kim?” Smith also described the nature of celebrity in the 21st century, saying that today’s stars “arrive full-blown from the head of Zeus with not a shred of talent.” But while the grande dame of gossip might not be a fan of most of the current crop of celebs, she said she admired Taylor Swift —to an extent. “When you see her perform, it’s kind of old-fashioned, like if Lana Turner could dance and sing for one number,” she said. “But I have no interest in hearing her whole catalog.” While Smith’s career covering celebrities has led her to form friendships with legendary celebs such as Elizabeth Taylor, she revealed that her longstanding friendship with Barbara Walters has faltered in recent years. “Well, it turns out Barbara Walters can do without me, though I still consider her a friend,” Smith said. “She has done so much for me through the years. But when I lost my column and my power, she kind of lost interest in me,” she added. “When we run into each Continue Reading

Michael Slager: What you should know about the North Charleston cop who killed Walter Scott

Michael Thomas Slager is currently inmate No. 0001514468 residing in cell 1140B at the Charleston County Detention Center. But before that, the 33-year-old waited tables in New Jersey, served in the U.S. Coast Guard, was married and became a police officer in North Charleston, S.C., where he had two complaints filed against him during a five-year career. Slager is now known nationally as the officerwho shot and killed an unarmed black man running from a traffic stop Saturday. The city’s mayor announced Wednesday the five-year veteran of the police department has been fired. Slager was charged with murder Tuesday in the killing of 50-year-old Walter Scott. The shooting was caught on camera. WALTER SCOTT 'USED FOR TARGET PRACTICE' BY COP: BROTHER Here's what we know now about Slager: EDITORIAL: THE CRIMINAL KILLING OF WALTER SCOTT --- He graduated from Lenape High School in Medford, N.J. He also worked as a waiter in Voorhees, the Courier-Post reported. --- Slager is married and a stepfather to two children. His wife is eight-months pregnant and the city will continue to pay her health insurance until the baby is born, North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said Wednesday. --- Slager applied to be a North Charleston police officer in January 2009, after his waiter stint. He is a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, according to the application obtained by NBC. Scott as also a Coast Guard vet. --- Slager was officially hired and signed an “Oath of Office” on March 1, 2010. --- The rookie cop was described as “enthused” during his first month, and “kept calm” and showed “great officer safety tactics” under duress during a harrowing run-in with suspects. --- A man claimed Slager used his Taser on him and arrested him for no reason during a September 2013 confrontation. Slager was cleared in that case."They never told me how they reached the conclusion. Never," the Continue Reading