For People Who Record Police Shootings, the Video Is Just the Beginning of the Story

For People Who Record Police Shootings, the Video Is Just the Beginning of the Story
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

"A gift from God" is how the lawyer for Walter Scott's family described the appearance of Feidin Santana, the young man who filmed Scott being fatally shot by a South Carolina police officer on Saturday. In an interview with MSNBC's Joy-Ann Reid on Wednesday night, Anthony Scott, Walter's older brother, said, "We would not be at the point in the case that we are now" were it not for Santana's recording.

Now Officer Michael T. Slager is being charged with murder. Santana is being hailed as a "hero" across social media. But in spite of all the praise he's received in the past few days — including a "Fans of Feidin Santana" Facebook page that's garnered more than 1,300 likes and counting — the 23-year-old can't seem to escape a feeling of dread.

"I'm still scared," he told Matt Lauer on the Today show Thursday morning. "I felt that my life, with this information, might be in danger," he said in an MSNBC interview on Wednesday.

Demonstration and press conference for Walter Scott
Source: 
David Goldman/AP

It's easy to see why he's worried. Just one month after filming a group of New York Police Department officers strangling 43-year-old Eric Garner to death on Staten Island last July, Ramsey Orta, also 23, was arrested for "criminal possession of a firearm," according to the Daily Beast. Six months later, in February 2015, police raided Orta's Staten Island home and arrested him for allegedly selling drugs to undercover police officers nine times.

Orta now faces criminal charges on both counts. He was recently bailed out after a two-month stint at the Rikers Island correctional facility — a stint marked by his refusal to eat prison food after inmates accused guards of tainting it with mysterious "blue-green pellets" that made them sick, the Daily Beast reported.

Demonstration and press conference for Walter Scott
Source: 
Richard Ellis/Getty Images

Consider this: Orta has long claimed the NYPD is retaliating against him for making the Eric Garner video public. Now, add the fact that Michael T. Slager, the former North Charlston officer who gunned Scott down, clearly showed no qualms about shooting an unarmed man and lying about it, and Feidin Santana's fears seem entirely plausible. The North Charleston police have acted swiftly to condemn their fellow officer in the case. But we'd be mistaken to forget that, for the brave men and women who record these horrific incidents, making the video public is often just the beginning.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Zak Cheney Rice

Zak is a Senior Staff Writer at Mic.

MORE FROM

This child kept HIV in remission for 8 years without drugs. Here’s what that really means.

More than eight years after his initial treatment, the child is still in remission.

Driver charged with human trafficking after 30-40 people found locked in fatally hot tractor-trailer

The charge against James Matthew Bradley, the alleged driver of the vehicle, could carry a punishment as severe as the death penalty.

Charlie Gard’s parents end legal fight to continue treatment for terminally ill son

The parents have withdrawn their request for Charlie to receive treatment in the U.S.

10th person dies after 38 found locked in sweltering tractor-trailer outside Texas Walmart

8 were found dead at the scene; 2 more died after being rushed to the hospital in critical or serious condition.

Dozens killed in deadly car bomb attack in Kabul

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.

‘Hot Mic’ podcast: Democratic brand, WH Communications Director, Jared Kushner to be questioned

Here are the important stories to know for Monday, July 24

This child kept HIV in remission for 8 years without drugs. Here’s what that really means.

More than eight years after his initial treatment, the child is still in remission.

Driver charged with human trafficking after 30-40 people found locked in fatally hot tractor-trailer

The charge against James Matthew Bradley, the alleged driver of the vehicle, could carry a punishment as severe as the death penalty.

Charlie Gard’s parents end legal fight to continue treatment for terminally ill son

The parents have withdrawn their request for Charlie to receive treatment in the U.S.

10th person dies after 38 found locked in sweltering tractor-trailer outside Texas Walmart

8 were found dead at the scene; 2 more died after being rushed to the hospital in critical or serious condition.

Dozens killed in deadly car bomb attack in Kabul

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.

‘Hot Mic’ podcast: Democratic brand, WH Communications Director, Jared Kushner to be questioned

Here are the important stories to know for Monday, July 24