Authorities in North Charleston, S.C., likely didn't have much choice but to charge Officer Michael Slager with murder, given the chilling video recording of his firing eight shots at a fleeing Walter Scott.

Based on data collected by Philip Stinson, a researcher at Bowling Green State University who culled data on violence-related police arrests between 2005 and 2011, Slager's arrest is unsurprising for another reason: The details overlap squarely with other incidents in which officers faced criminal charges.

At the outset, it's important to note how rarely officers have been charged for the specific crime Slager is alleged to have committed. Stinson's data identified 41 instances in which an on-duty officer allegedly committed a murder or homicide with a firearm, out of 104 cases overall. (In 623 other cases, officers were charged with having "pulled, pointed, held, or fired a gun and/or threatened someone with a gun," according to the report.) The most common charges filed were simple or aggravated assaults, and most alleged crimes occurred when the officer was off-duty.

Slager is a 33-year-old officer in a medium-sized department in a Southern city. He's been on the force for five years. And each and every one of those details is the most common demographic in Stinson's data. Slager's categories are marked with diagonal lines below.

Demographics of officers charged with violent crimes

Note that the demographics above largely reflect the composition of the American police force. It is largely male, and there are more officers in cities. These data alone don't suggest that male officers are necessarily more likely to be charged with crimes, just that the vast majority of those charged between 2005 and 2011 were men.

Walter Scott, the man killed by Slager, largely fits the demographic profile of the victims in those crimes -- with one exception.

Demographics of the victims

It bears repeating how unusual charges like those against Slager actually are. Last December, The Post's Abby Phillip reported on a cluster of charges being filed against police officers in South Carolina. "It’s no coincidence," she wrote, "that these indictments have coincided with renewed national attention on excessive use of force."

Not conveyed in the above data is the racial disparity that it is impossible not to note. The Post has looked at how police forces compare to the population they protect before. The graphic below shows the relationship in North Charleston.

What's also not conveyed in the data above is how often officers are convicted of crimes. South Carolina's The State newspaper reported in March that 209 people had been shot at by police in the state in the last five years. A few of the officers were charged with breaking the law. None were convicted.