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“I thought about erasing the video,” Man who recorded South Carolina cop shooting speaks out

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The man who shot the cell phone video of a police officer shooting a fleeing suspect several times in the back is speaking out.

Feidin Santana’s video resulted in Officer Michael Slager being arrested and charged with murder for the shooting death of 50-year-old Walter Scott after a traffic stop in North Charleston, South Carolina over the weekend.

“I thought about his position, their situation … If I were to have a family member that would happen [to], I would like to know the truth,” Santana said in an exclusive interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt.

Feidin Santana said he was making a call when he heard the sound of a Taser being used.

He said he turned on the camera and started walking towards the commotion.

That is when he says he saw the alleged suspect, Walter Scott, struggling with the officer.

Santana said Scott had been tased and was trying to get away.

He says he never saw Scott holding the Taser, and the officer had control of Scott the entire time.

“Before I started recording, they were down on the floor. I remember the police [officer] had control of the situation,” Santana said. “He had control of Scott. And Scott was trying just to get away from the Taser. But like I said, he never used the Taser against the cop.”

Slager told officials that he shot Scott because he feared for his life after Scott took his Taser.

The beginning of Santana’s video shows two men standing close to each other. Scott runs away, and Slager fires eight shots, striking him in the back.

The video shows a dark object fall to the ground behind the officer when Scott starts to run away, but it’s not clear whether the object was a Taser.

Later in the video, as the officer is standing next to Scott’s body, he picks up a dark object from the ground. But the footage does not show how the object got next to Scott’s body.

Santana told NBC’s Lester Holt that after he recorded the suspect being shot in the back, he realized he was holding something big in his hands.

He told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes that he almost erased the footage.

“I felt that my life, with this information, might be in danger. I thought about erasing the video and just getting out of the community, you know Charleston, and living some place else,” the 23-year-old said. “I knew the cop didn’t do the right thing.”

He said he decided to turn over the video to Scott’s family after reading the police report and hearing about it on the news.

“It wasn’t like that, the way they were saying,” Santana said on MSNBC. “I said, ‘No … this is not what happened.'”

He is now being called a “hero” by the Scott family’s attorneys.

The family says without the video, they never would have known what really happened between Scott and Slager.

You can watch an extended interview with Santana below:

 

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