News Americas, CHARLESTON, South Carolina, Tues. April 14, 2015: The Caribbean immigrant who used his smart phone to record the killing of unarmed civilian Walter Scott by former North Charleston, South Carolina police officer Michael Slager, has been honored by a LA group.
The Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable this past weekend presented the Dominican Republic-born Feidin Santana with its Civic Engagement Award.
The award and grant was given to the 23-year-old, according to the LA Urban Policy Roundtable, to honor him for his exemplary citizen engagement effort in exposing the slaying of Scott.
Santana recorded a roughly three-minute video of Slager shooting Scott on April 4th as the unarmed black man was running away. Police said Slager pulled the 50-year-old Scott over for a nonworking brake light. Scott, according to a dash cam video, fled from Slager for unexplained reasons, and the officer chased him on foot.
When Santana’s video begins, Scott starts running away from the officer, with Scott’s back to Slager. The video shows Slager shooting at Scott eight times before Scott falls down.
That evidence led to the officer’s firing and arrest on a murder charge.
Santana said when he first came on the scene while walking to his job as a barber. He said he saw the suspect, Scott, run, and heard Slager yell “stop” before chasing and tackling him. He said he began recording when the two men hit the ground.
He kept recording as the officer struck Scott and put a stun gun to his side, then as Scott slipped away.
Santana said he didn’t hear Slager say “stop” again before the officer fired his gun eight times, striking Scott repeatedly in the back and killing him. Slager has been charged with murder after Santana’s video surfaced. The five-year police officer, who previously served in the U.S. Coast Guard, said that he had felt threatened by Scott, who had been pulled over in a traffic stop.
Santana is the third recipient of Award for meritorious service. One prior awardee is David Diez whose video of the Marlene Pinnock beating by a California Highway Patrol officer in July 2014 secured justice for Pinnock. The other awardee is Washington D.C. attorney Jody Westby who intervened to halt a racial profiling harassment incident by a Washington D.C. police officer last October 2014.
“Given the deadly seriousness of police violence and misconduct as a national issue of deep concern, Mr. Santana, at great and continuing risk to his safety, performed an honorable act in confronting and publicly exposing a horrendous act of police violence,” said the grou[‘s founder, Earl Ofari Hutchinson. “The award honors him for his courageous act. But the award is also given to serve as inspiration and encouragement to other citizens to responsible, proactive engagement and involvement in reporting on, disclosing, and challenging alleged wrongdoing, misconduct and citizen abuse by police, public officials and employees.”
Santana has insisted he is “scared” for his life and had considered erasing the video and leaving town but he reconsidered after reading the police account of the shooting.
“I was scared for myself and my family,” he told the Daily Beast. “I have a wife and a family back in Santo Domingo and now they were scared for me, too.”
Feidin was born and spent most of his childhood in the Dominican Republic. At the age of thirteen, he moved to the United States when his grandmother – who was a permanent resident – petitioned for her children and minor grandchildren to join her in New Jersey.
His family lived in New Jersey for a year and a half before relocating to New York. After spending a year in New York, Feidin’s parents decided that Rhode Island was a better location—as residing there would allow for more comfort and better opportunity—and uprooted the family once again.
When Feidin turned eighteen years old, he elected to move back to the Dominican Republic to pursue a baseball career. At the conclusion of his baseball career in 2013, Feidin returned to the United States, making his home in North Charleston, South Carolina.
He is being represented by The Rutherford Law Firm, LLC which has now launched a petition for his support in the amount of US$15,000 at https://life.indiegogo.com/fundraisers/support-feidin-santana