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Excelsior College Criminal Justice System and Incident Report Questions

Part 1

NOTE: Throughout this course there are assignments in which you will be exposed to portions of a real case and trial from 2015-2017. Even though it will be easy to find information about this trial from outside sources, it is highly suggested that you limit your exposure to what is presented in class unless specifically instructed otherwise. The progression of the course is intended to give you information about the events from beginning to end as they happened and looking ahead in the case may diminish your overall experience. In the event that you are already familiar with the case, attempt to remain unbiased throughout the semester for tasks involving the case.

On the morning of April 4, 2015, Officer Michael Slager made a routine traffic stop after observing a car driving with a non-functional third brake light. Officer Slater approaches the vehicle and engages in a conversation with Walter Scott concerning the ownership of the vehicle and whether it is insured. After collecting Mr. Scott’s driver’s license, Officer Slager returns to his police cruiser and continues investigating.

Shortly thereafter, Mr. Scott flees his vehicle with Officer Slager in pursuit. In his incident report, Officer Slager claims that he attempted to deploy his taser but that it did not function properly. Additionally, during a scuffle between the two men, Mr. Scott managed to obtain the officer’s taser, which could still be used as a stun gun, even after the prongs had already been deployed. Officer Slager claims he feared for his life when the taser was taken from him. Moments later, Walter Scott is fatally shot multiple times by Officer Slager.

Officer Slager radioed dispatch to let them know shots were fired and that his taser had been taken from him. The report states that when other officers arrived on the scene, they administered CPR to Mr. Scott but he ultimately succumbed to his wounds.

The initial interaction was captured on video by the dashcam in Officer Slager’s cruiser:


For this discussion, you will focus on the officer’s actions as he reported them and the dashcam footage above.

Based solely on the information you have been given, respond to the following prompts in your initial post by providing an explanation for each topic:

Was the traffic stop legal?

Was Officer Slager at the appropriate level of proof to make the traffic stop?

Did Officer Slager act appropriately in his initial interaction with Walter Scott?

Is there anything that Officer Slager should have done differently prior to pursuing Mr. Scott?

What would be an appropriate response by the police department following the filing of the incident report?

Were any of Mr. Scott’s constitutional rights violated?

Part 2

What court case had an impact on your life?

  • This case does not have to be a high profile case, although it can be.

Explain a bit about the case and why it made an impact.

  • Was the case one that affected you directly or indirectly?
  • Did the case play a role in your decision to be part of the field of criminal justice?
  • If so, what role did it play?
  • Share an image that reminds you of the case or circumstances surrounding the case. 
  • The image could be a photograph, painting, or anything else that is either from the case or makes you think about the case.

Explain why you chose that image and what about it reminds you of the case.


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