The Latest: Lawyer: Indicted ex-cop bears burden of history

AP News
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Posted: May 11, 2016 11:59 PM

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on a former South Carolina police officer indicted on federal charges in the death of a black motorist. (All times local):

5:45 p.m.

The lawyer for a white former South Carolina police officer now facing federal charges for killing unarmed black motorist Walter Scott says his client is "carrying the burden of many past cases that were handled differently."

Attorney Andy Savage issued the statement Wednesday a few hours after Michael Slager pleaded not guilty Wednesday to federal counts including a civil rights violation.

Savage says the penalties on the new charges, which could carry a life sentence, seem extreme and the timing is curious. He says Slager continues to believe in the justice system.

Slager also faces a state murder charge for shooting a fleeing Scott after pulling him over for a broken brake light in North Charleston in April 2015.

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4:40 p.m.

The state prosecutor heading up the murder case against a white former South Carolina police officer accused of killing motorist Walter Scott says she is pleased the federal government has brought its own charges.

Charleston-based Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said in a new release Wednesday that she has met numerous times with federal officials and believes it makes sense for their parallel cases to move forward.

Former officer Michael Slager pleaded not guilty Wednesday to federal counts including a civil rights violation. He already faces state murder charges in the April 2015 shooting of Scott after a traffic stop in North Charleston and is scheduled for trial in October.

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3:10 p.m.

Slain motorist Walter Scott's family and lawyer say they are thankful the Justice Department has brought charges against the white former police officer charged with gunning Scott down while he ran from a traffic stop last year.

An indictment unsealed Wednesday charges Michael Slager with federal counts and he could get life in prison. He already faces a murder charge in state court.

Scott's mother Judy Scott told reporters on Wednesday that she thanks God for justice but hopes other mothers don't have to go through what she experienced.

Family attorney Chris Stewart says he's proud of the federal government for bringing the charges. He says that while there are good officers, this sends a message to the ones who abuse their authority.

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2:10 p.m.

A white former South Carolina police officer facing a state murder charge in the shooting death of unarmed black motorist Walter Scott is being allowed to stay out of jail while new federal charges are pending.

A federal judge on Wednesday made that determination at a hearing in Charleston for Michael Slager.

Slager will not have to post additional bond. He entered a not-guilty plea.

Slager was indicted this week on federal charges including depriving Scott of his civil rights. He's also charged with obstruction of justice and unlawful use of a weapon during the commission of a crime.

Slager faces state murder charges in the April 2015 shooting of Scott after a traffic stop in North Charleston and is scheduled for trial in October. Slager was released on bond in January on those charges and has been on house arrest.

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11:10 a.m.

An attorney for relatives of a black motorist who was killed by a white North Charleston police officer says the U.S. Justice Department is making history by indicting the former officer in the case.

Attorney Chris Stewart tells the Associated Press it's amazing that after all the cases over the past 20 years the federal government has decided to indict an officer.

Stewart, who represents the family of Walter Scott, says he thinks the Justice Department deems this a case the government can win, and in the process send a message to police departments nationwide.

An indictment unsealed Wednesday charges 34-year-old Michael Slager with three federal counts, including violating Scott's civil rights. Slager appears before a federal judge later Wednesday.

The AP left a message seeking comment from Slager's attorney.

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10:45 a.m.

A federal judge will decide whether a former South Carolina police officer charged with murder in the shooting death of an unarmed black motorist can remain free on bond.

An indictment unsealed Wednesday shows that 34-year-old Michael Slager is charged with violating Walter Scott's civil rights and two other federal charges.

Slager faces state murder charges in the April 2015 shooting the 50-year-old Scott after a traffic stop in North Charleston and is scheduled for trial in October. He's been free on a half million dollars bond and under house arrest since January in the state case.

A federal magistrate issued an arrest warrant for Slager on Tuesday and the order says the issue of bond will be taken up by a federal judge. Slager appears for an initial hearing on the federal charges later Wednesday.

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10:00 a.m.

A white former South Carolina police officer charged with murder in the shooting death of a fleeing, unarmed black motorist now faces federal civil rights charges.

An indictment unsealed Wednesday shows that Michael Slager is charged with violating Walter Scott's civil rights. He's also charged with obstruction of justice and unlawful use of a weapon during the commission of a crime.

Slager faces state murder charges in the April 2015 shooting of Scott after a traffic stop in North Charleston and is scheduled for trial in October. Prosecutors have asked that the trial be held before or after the trial of the man accused of shooting nine people to death at a black church in Charleston last summer.

Last fall, North Charleston approved a $6.5 million civil settlement with Scott's family.