S. Carolina cop released on bail; facing murder charge for shooting man in back
Under the conditions of his bond, which a judge set at $500,000 on Monday, Slager must reside in South Carolina until his trial. He will be held under house arrest and cannot have any contact with Scott’s family.
Slager, who was fired from his post as a police officer in North Charleston, South Carolina, was arrested in April and has been in custody since.
In September, the judge denied Slager bond after prosecutors argued he was a danger to the community and a flight risk. Slager’s lawyer argued that he should be placed on house arrest, saying that the former police officer does not have a previous criminal record, isn’t a flight risk and is considered low risk for violent behavior.
On Monday, the judge set October 31 as Slager’s trial date. When he decided to set bond, according to CNN affiliates, the judge said he’d taken into consideration the lengthy amount of time the accused former officer would have to wait behind bars before having his day in court.
Case drew national attention
Slager pulled over Scott on April 4, reportedly for a broken brake light. Scott was later shot in the back by Slager as he was running away.
A bystander recorded the shooting, and the graphic footage sparked outrage and reignited a national conversation around race and policing.
Scott was black; Slager is white.
Slager told investigators Scott did not comply with his demands and tried to grab his stun gun. The cell phone video shows what appeared to be a quick scuffle.
Scott then runs away from Slager, who raises his gun and fires eight times, striking Scott, who was unarmed and whose back was turned to Slager as he fled. Scott died at the scene.
Before the judge’s decision Monday, Walter Scott Sr. told the judge how he feels when he sees the video of his son’s death.
“Looking at the film that I saw, every time I look at it, it makes me cry,” the father said, according to CNN affiliate WCSC. “When I go down to the graveyard, the only thing I see there is a pot sticking in the ground with flowers in it. … If you let him out, he’s gonna go home and look at his wife and children.”
Prosecutor also trying Charleston church shooting
One key reason Slager’s trial won’t start for months: Solicitor Scarlett Wilson is also prosecuting confessed Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof.
At Monday’s hearing, Slager spoke in court before his bond was set, CNN affiliate WCIV reported.
“I look forward to going to court and clearing my name,” he said.
In a statement released by their attorneys Monday night, Scott’s family said they were disappointed but respected the judge’s decision.
“The family is pleased at how the Charleston community has responded throughout this situation and asks again for calm following this decision,” the statement said. “They will now anxiously await Michael Slager’s criminal trial and continue to thank the community for their prayers and support.”
CNN’s Tristan Smith, Faith Holland and Dana Ford contributed to this report.