NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (AP/WIS) - The bystander whose cellphone video of a police shooting in South Carolina put an officer in jail on a murder charge has come forward and explained why he started recording the crime scene.
Feidin Santana told NBC News on Wednesday that he was walking to work and approached the scene because he noticed officer Michael Slager controlling Walter Scott on the ground. He began recording when he heard the sound of a Taser.
"Scott was trying just to get away from the Taser," Santana said.
The video then shows Slager firing eight times at the back of the unarmed man, until he crumples to the ground about 30 feet away.
"I knew, right away, I had something in my hands," Santana said of the video that's now been viewed millions of times on the Internet and television.
Santana turned the video over to Scott's family, who he says were very emotional.
"When I turned it in, I felt, I thought about his position, their situation. If I would have had a family member and that happened, I would like to know the truth," Santana said.
The family's lawyer, L. Chris Stewart, calls Santana a "hero."
Despite that, Santana told The Today Show that he is still scared for his life as a result of the video.
"I say life changed in a matter of seconds. I never thought this would happen, that I would be a witness. I'm still scared," Santana said.
Santana was accompanied to The Today Show by his attorney, state Rep. Todd Rutherford. Rutherford said the video changed everything about this case.
"It shows the importance of body cameras, and thankfully [North Charleston is] now moving toward body cameras on all their officers," Rutherford said. "But he's afraid. The first thing [Santana] said to me was, 'How can I get protection?'"
Santana has been cooperating with investigators and acknowledged that "the officer also has his family."
"But I think that he made a bad decision. And you pay for your decisions in this life, I think," Santana said. "Mr. Scott didn't deserve this. There can be other ways to get him arrested and that wasn't the proper way to do it."