Following the lead of The Huffington Post in imagining how the shooting death of Walter Scott by a police officer would have been reported by relying only on police testimony, Chuck Todd introduced his own version in a segment on Sunday's Meet the Press titled, "What If There Was No Video?"
Todd warned: "Remember, what you're about to see did not air anywhere. It is simply a version of how television would have had to cover the story if there were no video and it had to rely entirely on information from the North Charleston Police Department. Every quote in here is real, released in the initial aftermath of the incident."
From the faked report:
A routine traffic stop turned deadly Saturday when police say a North Charleston officer was forced to open fire on a driver who tried to overpower him. It began when Officer Michael Slager pulled over 50-year-old Walter Scott for a broken taillight and Scott suddenly fled the scene. Slager said he pursued Scott, and his lawyer told the local newspaper, 'When confronted, Officer Slager reached for his taser -- as trained by the department -- and then a struggle ensued. The driver tried to overpower Officer Slager in an effort to take his Taser.' Police say Scott was able to gain control of the Taser, and that feeling threatened, Slager then reached for his gun and opened fire. Scott was hit and fell to the ground. [Slager's police transmission] 'Shots fired. Subject is down. He grabbed my Taser.' Police say other officers rushed to the scene, delivering first aid and performing CPR. Scott was pronounced dead at the scene. Walter Scott has a long rap sheet that includes charges of assault and battery and failure to pay child support. In a statement, North Charleston Police Chief Eddie Drigger said, 'This is part of the job that no one likes and wishes would never happen. This type of situation is unfortunate, and difficult for everyone.'
Todd again was clear to state this was not a real report but simply based on the information released by the North Charleston police -- the only source they could cite if covering this incident.
However, there was a video, as Todd explained:
And so what we learned once the video was released, of course, was a very different story. Walter Scott was running away when he was shot. He was shot in the back -- that no CPR was performed and it actually isn't clear at all that Walter Scott grabbed the officer's Taser.