By Paul Gable
New evidence has been filed with the court in the case against former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager in the shooting death of Walter Scott.
The evidence was filed yesterday in preparation for a bond hearing for Slager to be held tomorrow.
Slager’s attorney, Andrew Savage of Charleston, provided Grand Strand Daily with a copy of the Mitigation Package for Bond Hearing filed with the court.
We all know what we saw on the video of Scott running away from Slager and Slager firing his weapon multiple times killing Scott.
What isn’t nearly as evident, nor covered in most media stories on the incident, is what happened before the final scene.
A hospital report on Slager and Scott’s autopsy report show bruises on both men’s bodies consistent with violent confrontation.
Gunshot residue was found on both of Scott’s hands during the autopsy. Scott’s proximity to a weapon being discharged, or firing one himself, had to have occurred before the final minutes of the incident captured on the video.
Alcohol and cocaine were both present in Scott’s system according to the toxicology analysis associated with the autopsy.
Slager’s taser was fired six times during the incident with both men apparently hit twice, according to physical evidence and a forensic laboratory report.
There are blurry pictures of Scott on top of Slager (both on the ground) before the final incident.
According to the physical and forensic analysis, the incident appears to be much more complicated than what went viral on You Tube a couple of days later. There appears to be much more than Scott dropping something down on the ground, turning and running away and Slager shooting him multiple times.
The story of the video itself is more complicated than something being filmed on a cellphone, then, uploaded to You Tube.
According to interviews and statements from attorney and state Rep. Todd Rutherford, the attorney representing Feidin Santana, the man who shot the video, Santana kept quiet about the video for several days before turning it over to Scott’s family.
Shortly after it was turned over, the video went viral on the internet. However, within several days, the New York Times reported media companies around the world received cease and desist letters from Markson Sparks, a public relations firm in Australia. The letters said nothing from the video could be used in reporting on the story without a payment of $10,000.
Rutherford was reported to have said the media outlets were using the video to make money and there was nothing wrong with Santana making some money from it.
To date, Savage said he has not been able to obtain an appointment to have an expert inspect the original video and cellphone recording device. Of course, the chain of evidence on this video has problems with the cellphone not having been turned over to police until days after the incident and passing through other hands first.
And, it appears SLED, the investigating agency in the case, was playing to the media while ignoring state law with respect to turning over details of its investigation of the case.
In the Motion for Bond Hearing filed in August, Savage complained about the difficulty he had in obtaining discovery evidence from SLED. It notes SLED took twice the allowable time, according to state law, to respond to Savage’s requests.
A section of the request reads, “Slager’s initial requests for discovery, filed on April 10, 2015, did not receive a response for two months, twice the permissible time allowed by South Carolina Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 5(a)(3) SCR CrimP. While the arresting agency was eagerly responding to media inquiries (until the prosecuting authority intervened) it acted with dubious reticence to timely provide Slager with the details of their investigation.”
Slager’s request for bond hearing is scheduled for tomorrow when much of this new evidence will be presented in court.
CBS Morning News: Could new evidence get Michael Slager out of jail?