(CN) - Several angry protesters shouted down North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey Wednesday afternoon during press conference that offered little new information on the case of a white police officer caught on video shooting an unarmed black man to death.
The packed press conference after hours of peaceful protests outside city hall; but as the mayor stepped to the podium to speak, several of the protesters who'd been allowed to attend the session began chanting "No justice; no peace."
"I understand what you are saying," the mayor said.
But that was perhaps the last time Summey and the protestors were on the same page during the 20-minute give and take.
The outburst of sorrow and defiance came a day after North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager was charged with murder in the death of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man who was shot at least five times as he ran from a routine traffic stop on Saturday, March 4.
The problem was the mayor had very little of substance to offer his inquisitors, deferring questions about the Michael Slager, the officer involved in the shooting, and the ongoing investigation of the case to Solicitor Scarlett Wilson and the State Law Enforcement Division, neither of whom was represented at the press conference.
Asked why officials appeared to embrace a version of the alleged incident that was later contradicted by a witnesses' video, Mayor Summey said he hadn't seen the video until Tuesday, and that in the immediate aftermath of the killing of Walter Scott, "I had to rely on the evidence we had."
One of the protestors asked the mayor why the city, which is almost 50 percent black, has a police force that's nearly 80 percent white.
"We've tried to recruit African-American members to the police department ... anyone that can become certified," Summey said. "The problem is we have had a very limited of applicants who we've been able to certify.
"That's been the challenge in getting more minority police officers to work for us ... and in response, we've started reaching out to other police departments for recruitment purposes," he said.
With that, the crowd began to chant "We want Driggers. We want Driggers," a reference to Police Chief Eddie Driggers who opened the press briefing by saying he had watched the video of the shooting "and I was sickened by what I saw," and announcing officer Slager had been officially fired by the department.
Driggers had stepped aside to let the mayor take the lead during the press conference, but remained near the podium.
"The people would like to know why the police chief is not allowed to answer any questions about the investigation," a protester shouted.
"We are not doing the investigation," Summey said. "We took the appropriate step to place the investigation in the hands on independent parties who don't work for me or for the police department, and that answers you want are going to have to come from them."
The mayor did say that he issued an executive order to purchase more body cameras for officers and that every North Charleston police officer will wear one.
"We will also be working within the community to work on an open dialogue," Summey said.
Moments later, after continued disruptions, the press conference ended.