North Charleston cop accused of murdering Walter Scott, granted bond, trial date set

Former North Charleston Police officer Michael Slager talks with his attorney Andy Savage before a hearing in front of Judge Clifton Newman in Charleston, S.C., Monday, Jan. 4, 2016. The state judge approved bail Monday for a former South Carolina police officer charged with killing an unarmed black motorist. (Brad Nettles/The Post and Courier via AP, Pool)

Michael Slager, the former North Charleston Police officer accused of murdering Walter Scott, will be released on bond. Slager’s attorney has asked for him to be released on bond multiple times and today the judge granted that request. Slager will be released on a $500,000 surety bond.

More than a dozen people showed up in court Monday to support Slager. Defense attorney Andy Savage asked them to stand and show the judge the ties Slager has to the community. Many of Slager’s family members were also there, including his parents and wife. Slager spoke in court asking the judge to reconsider bond so he can work with his legal team on the case. Savage also says Slager has an existing medical condition involving gluten that is causing him problems while incarcerated.

The biggest reason why the judge says he granted bond is due to the late trial date. Because Solicitor Scarlett Wilson is prosecuting Dylann Roof during the Emanuel AME case in July, Slager’s trial date isn’t until October 31, 2016. The judge says it would be unnecessary to keep Slager incarcerated for that long, especially since he is assumed innocent until proven guilty.

Members of the Scott family also spoke in court Monday asking the judge to deny bond again. Walter Scott Sr., father of Walter Scott, says he believes Slager is a threat to the community and if he is released, he will get to spend time with his wife and child, not feeling the same pain as the Scott family.

Justin Bamberg, the Scott family’s attorney, urges the community to remain peaceful.

Bamberg says, “What I want everybody watching to understand is, this is just another step in the process. And like every process, it has to run its course. Doing anything to damage property, to hurt an innocent individual, is not doing anything to help the Scott family. It’s not doing anything that;s going to have an effect on the criminal trial process. The only thing that that can do is land you where Officer Slager is right now.”

The conditions of the bond also require Slager to stay in the state of South Carolina and forbid him from having any contact with the Scott family.

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