CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A police advocacy group says it doesn't want to pay the legal fees of a former North Charleston officer charged with murder in the shooting death of a black motorist more than a year ago.
Michael Slager, who is white, paid monthly dues to the group Southern States Police Benevolent Association and hired an attorney through them after the shooting death of Walter Scott.
But Charleston lawyer David Aylor dropped Slager three days later when video showed Slager firing as Scott tried to run away from a traffic stop in April 2015. The cellphone video was circulated widely on the internet.
Slager sued the group, saying it violated an insurance contract promising unlimited legal aid if he were involved in a shooting.
U.S. District Judge David Norton is expected to take up motions in the lawsuit during a hearing Monday.
Slager faces a murder charge in state court, and has pleaded not guilty to federal civil rights charges.
Charleston attorney Andy Savage has represented Slager for free in state court, and he was appointed to be his defense lawyer in the federal case.
In the lawsuit, Slager's lawyers alleged n a "breach of (the association's) contract of insurance, bad faith and unfair claim practices."
The association's attorney disagreed.
"Mr. Slager's shooting an unarmed Mr. Scott five times in the back as he fled, planting the Taser behind Mr. Scott's body, and lying to the PBA and (the State Law Enforcement Division) are intentional acts outside the scope of Mr. Slager's duty as a police officer," the association's attorney, James Bradley of West Columbia, argued in the filing.
The association on Thursday asked a judge for "summary judgment," an order that would end Slager's claims before trial.
Information from: The Post and Courier, http://www.postandcourier.com