Cop Jailed in SC Killing Awaits Decision on Bond

(CN) – Despite reconvening a bond hearing for the former North Charleston, S.C., police officer accused of brazenly killing an unarmed black motorist, the judge weighing whether Michael Slager should be freed pending his trial issued no decision Friday morning.
     The defense team for the 22-year-old former officer filed a 153-page brief arguing that the story of April 4 that ended with the death of Walter Scott have been distorted by incomplete accounts in the media, and that its client is no flight risk.
     Immediately after Scott was killed during what had started as a routine traffic stop, Slager told investigators and his fellow officers that he feared for his life after an altercation with the deceased. But days later an amateur video shot by a passerby showed the officer shooting the 50 year old Scott in the back as he ran away.
     Slager’s attorney, Andy Savage, has argued that the video begins immediately after the altercation, and therefore misses critical moments before the shooting. Savage contends his client, who had previously received letters of commendation from the North Charleston Police Department, was defending himself against an assailant who had blood and alcohol in his system.
     During a lengthy hearing on Thursday afternoon, Savage said during an altercation that started after Scott ran from his vehicle during the traffic stop, it was Scott who attacked Slager with the officer’s own stun gun.
     But Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson, who is prosecuting the case, said Scott ran because he was afraid of being arrested for failure to pay child support, and Slager became “a firing squad” that “executed Walter Scott.”
     Wilson also said the video clearly shows Slager dropping the Taser next to the prone Scott, that at no time did Slager offer aid to dying man. Instead, she said, he “put handcuffs on a dying or dead man.”
     After hearing from both sides for more than an hour on Thursday, Judge Clifton Newman called a halt to the proceedings, announcing they’d resume Friday morning.
     However, when they did so Newman announced he still had not made a decision on bond, bit would decided the matter “expeditiously.”
     He also said he would meet with the defense and prosecution within the next 60 days to decide on a trial date for the former officer.

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