Bail sought for former officer charged in shooting death

AP News
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Posted: Aug 04, 2015 4:04 PM

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A white former South Carolina policeman charged in the slaying of a black motorist presents little danger to the community and little risk of fleeing and should be released on bail, his attorney argued in a court motion filed Tuesday.

Charleston attorney Andy Savage asked for a hearing on a request that former North Charleston officer Michael Slager be released from jail where he has been held in solitary confinement since April 7.

Slager was indicted in June on a murder charge in the April 4 shooting death of 50-year-old Walter Scott. A bystander's cellphone video showed Slager firing eight times as Scott tried to run from a traffic stop.

The shooting inflamed a national debate about how blacks are treated by white police officers.

In his motion, Savage said a review of court records in Charleston County showed that judges have granted attainable bond in half the cases where a defendant is charged with at least one count of murder.

He noted that Slager is being held in solitary confinement only because he was previously employed as a police officer.

"Given the circumstances of the conditions of his pretrial confinement, all of the circumstances of the alleged crime which led to his arrest, his low risk of danger to the community or danger to flee, certainly Slager should be granted a reasonable opportunity to argue the merits of his request," the motion says.

The motion asks the judge to set a hearing where Slager can present evidence showing why he should be released on bond.

The Associated Press left a message with Scarlett Wilson, the local prosecutor, seeking comment on the bond request.

Slager, 33, faces 30 years to life without parole if convicted of murder.

Wilson has said the death penalty doesn't apply because there were no aggravating circumstances in the case such as such as robbery or kidnapping.