Walter Scott, the 50-year-old unarmed black man who was killed by a white police officer in North Charleston, S.C., this week, previously served for two years in the U.S. Coast Guard at Curtis Bay in Baltimore, the agency said Thursday.
Scott enlisted in the service on July 9, 1984 and served as a fireman apprentice until Oct. 9, 1986, when he was granted a general discharge under honorable conditions after involuntary separating due to a drug-related offense, the Coast Guard said.
A fireman apprentice assists with the maintenance, operation, and repair of a ship's electrical and propulsion systems, according to the Coast Guard.
Michael Slager, the officer charged with murder after a video emerged of him shooting Scott eight times Tuesday as he ran away from a traffic stop, also served in the Coast Guard, though he was based in Port Canaveral, Fla., the agency said. Slager was a fireman, enlisted Jan. 21, 2003 and honorably discharged exactly six years later.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People President Cornell William Brooks called Scott's death "a grim reminder of the urgent need for criminal justice reform."
"Scott was a father of four and a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard whose life was senselessly cut short due to a tragic encounter with the police," Brooks said.