The brother of Walter Scott, who was fatally shot as he ran from a North Charleston officer, praised South Carolina as the governor signed a bill into law Wednesday to help police get body cameras.
The law requires police agencies to create a policy for which officers will wear the cameras, when they should and should not be recording and how videos are stored. The policies must be approved by a statewide group of law enforcement professionals.
Agencies would then be available to get money from a special account that has been created, but not yet funded by lawmakers who promise to find the money next budget year. Police departments wouldn’t be required to put the cameras on officers until they get the money.
The bill also includes provisions making it difficult to release the videos to the public until authorities determine they show something disturbing. Open records advocates said that doesn’t provide enough accountability.
The ceremony was more about celebrating how quickly lawmakers got together and passed the bill than the details. The bill was sent to Haley exactly two months after Scott was killed when he ran from an officer during a traffic stop, likely scared because he owed money for child support and could go to jail.
“I’m sure my brother is looking down and saying: ‘Good job. Good job, South Carolina,’ ” Scott’s brother Anthony said.
Scott’s mother wiped tears from her eyes as Haley gave her the first of five pens she used to sign the bill.
Several members of Scott’s family and the bystander who used his cellphone to make the stunning video that led to murder charges against the officer joined Haley outside a North Charleston community center.
The officer, Michael Slager, was charged with murder once the video surfaced. He was indicted earlier this week.
Haley thanked the Scott family.
“Through all of this tragedy, through all of the pain they were going through, this family held themselves with such strength and grace,” the governor said.