View from Ferguson: Brown's death sparked change -- and video is vital

Protesters interrupt North Charleston mayor
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Ferguson, Missouri (CNN)The day after a historic city council election in Ferguson, people here were talking about another city.

The police shooting death of Walter Scott in North Charleston brought back emotions people felt after the killing of Michael Brown.
Many agreed the events that transpired in Ferguson were now playing a role in the way the South Carolina city was handling its own tragedy.
Police there have charged Officer Michael Slager with murder after a video surfaced showing Slager, who is white, shooting 50-year-old Scott, who is African-American, eight times as Scott ran away with his back to the officer. It appears that Scott was unarmed.
    Ferguson protester Cat Daniels said Brown's death served as a catalyst for how officials and others are reacting to police shootings.
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    "Now people are looking at how police are interacting with people," she said. "They are paying attention. So that's a good thing. It's pretty sad that officers think they can just kill anyone."
    Daniels said one big difference was the video of the North Charleston shooting.
    "Someone was brave enough to videotape the shooting and not run from it. That changed the whole narrative." She said. "I am happy to see they won't have to deal with the whole grand jury smokescreen like we did."
    A grand jury declined to charge white police Officer Darren Wilson after he shot and killed Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, in August.
    Alexis Templeton was in Phoenix, Arizona, when Brown was killed in her hometown. She returned to Ferguson a few days later and stood on the frontlines of the protests for many months.
    She said Ferguson let people all over America know not to be afraid to stand up for what they thought was right. That's what happened in North Charleston, she said.
    "People have phones," she said. "People aren't scared to hold police accountable."
    The video of the North Charleston shooting, she said, is vital.
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    "I am desensitized to things like that, but it has been happening to black lives for so long," she said. "If there is no video, folks don't believe it because it sounds so asinine that something like this would ever happen in this country. But with a video, you can't say it's not happening."
    Lee Smith, a retired electrical worker who made an unsuccessful bid for a Ferguson city council seat, believes the events that transpired in Ferguson served as a wake-up call to other cities.
    He was glad to see authorities in North Charleston take responsibility for Scott's killing and charge the officer with murder.
    "I am hopeful that their motives are right and not just based on the fact that they are trying to avoid the same types of issues that came down in Ferguson," Smith said, referring to the months of unrest and violence.
    "Deep-seated racism is like a cancer all over this country," Smith said. "Our police, our court systems are all jacked up to the extent to where they just don't see black people as human. Until there is a change of heart and a change of mentality in those systems, we are going to continue to see this kind of attack on innocent human beings."
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    Former Ferguson Mayor Brian Fletcher agreed that his city has influenced others.
    "I think these situations are given much more scrutiny now," said Fletcher, who won a city council seat in Tuesday's election.
    "They have seen what has happened here in Ferguson," Fletcher said. "Every mayor and city council is very cautious in what they say and what they do."
    He said the video of Scott's shooting also had a lot to do with the reaction in North Charleston.
    "We wish there had been a video, too," Fletcher said of Brown's killing. "It would have certainly answered a lot of questions."
    On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who was in the St. Louis area for a political fundraiser, met with clergy and community leaders in Ferguson to get suggestions for how a police officer's use of lethal force can impact a community, aides told CNN.