Slager will be under house arrest until his trial begins in the shooting death of the South Carolina motorist

By Tim Nudd
January 05, 2016 09:55 AM
North Charleston Sheriffs Office

A South Carolina judge allowed former police officer Michael Slager, who is charged with murdering unarmed motorist Walter Scott last April, to be released on a $500,000 bond Monday.

Scott’s family members gasped when Circuit Judge Clifton Newman announced his decision in court, reports WCSC-TV. But attorney Justin Bamberg said the family still has faith in the system to bring justice in the case.

“Just be peaceful, like we have been,” Bamberg urged the Scott family’s supporters, according to the network. “Know at the end of the day, justice will run its course. I believe in the legal system, and the Scott family believes in it.”

The ruling came after Scott’s father, Walter Scott Sr., pleaded with the judge to keep Slager imprisoned until the trial next fall, explaining to the Charleston Post and Courier that he wanted Slager to “feel the pain I feel.”

“I don’t think Mr. Slager had any remorse after watching that video,” Scott added, referring to cell-phone footage of the shooting that was captured by a bystander. “Every time I look at it, it makes me cry.”

Slager, 34, will be under house arrest until his trial starts Oct. 31. Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson requested that the trial start in the fall because she is also busy working on the case against Dylann Roof, the suspect in the June shooting deaths of nine people at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. (Roof has has pleaded not guilty.

Judge Newman cited that long delay as a factor in granting bond to Slager. The former North Charleston police officer’s wife and parents shed tears as the judge delivered his ruling on Monday, the Post and Courier said.

Slager is charged with murder for allegedly shooting Scott, 50, in the back after Scott tried to run away from a traffic stop in North Charleston on April 4. A bystander recorded the incident on video, and the release of the clip spurred protests about the use of force by police officers against African Americans.

Slager faces 30 years to life without parole if convicted of murder, reports the Associated Press. Before his arrest, Slager had said he was acting in self-defense. He was fired by the North Charleston Police Department after the shooting.

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