Defense seeks bail for ex-officer charged in fatal shooting

AP News
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Posted: Sep 08, 2015 7:26 PM

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A white former police officer charged with murder in the shooting death of a black motorist poses little risk of committing violence, according to court documents filed Tuesday by his attorneys seeking to have their client released on bond.

Attorneys for Michael Slager filed 150 pages of documents in preparation for a Thursday bond hearing.

Slager, a former North Charleston police officer, is charged with murder 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 away from a traffic stop.

Slager, 33, was fired after the shooting, which inflamed the national debate about how blacks are treated by white law enforcement officers.

The documents filed Tuesday included a toxicology report showing there was cocaine in Scott's blood at the time of the incident and a psychological assessment that Slager poses little danger of committing violence.

The assessment, by Charleston-area psychologist Dr. Leonard Mulbry Jr., concluded that the 33-year-old Slager has no criminal history, is mentally stable and has no history of physical violence outside his work as a policeman. The report found Slager "to be at very low risk of future violence."

The filing also included court documents from other cases in which defendants in Charleston County have been charged with murder but have been released on bond.

A letter from the local clerk of court noted that, as of July 20, a total of 67 defendants in the county were facing murder charges and 24 of them had been released on bond.

Attorney Andy Savage earlier filed a motion asking for a bond hearing.

"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 said.

Prosecutor Scarlett Wilson released a statement Tuesday saying she would not comment on the case outside of the courtroom.

"The evidence in this case will be presented in the courtroom. Presenting that evidence in the proper way and at the proper time remains our focus," she said.

Slager faces 30 years to life without parole if convicted of murder. There were no aggravating circumstances such as robbery or kidnapping, so the death penalty doesn't apply in the case, Wilson has said.