The Main Stream Media headlines say Michael Slager, officer who shot Walter Scott in South Carolina, to plead guilty in federal case [by Jaweed Kaleem, Los Angeles Times, May 2 2017]. What they don’t say: Slager is not pleading guilty to murdering black deadbeat dad Walter Scott as he fled from custody on April 4 2015, or even to the manslaughter charge that the politically-motivated South Carolina prosecutors threw in when it became obvious that their wild overcharging of Slager was going to fail in the December 2016 state trial, but only to an obscure federal civil rights violation called “Deprivation of Rights Under Color Of Law.”
The Trump Justice Department did not, as was once rumored, actually dismiss the federal case. But it does seem to have engineered a deal that includes the dropping of state charges. Federal judge David C. Norton, a George W. Bush appointee, could sentence Slager to 20 years in prison, but he could also sentence him to no prison time at all—and should: Slager has already spent a savage eight months in solitary confinement, not allowed to hold or even see his first son, born during his incarceration.
It’s very hard to tell from reading the Main Stream Media, but lead defense attorney Andy Savage actually used the argument developed by The Conservative Treehouse/ Last Refuge website that Scott had shot Office Slager with his own taser before fleeing—totally discrediting the Unprovoked-Atrocity-By-Brutal-Cop Narrative that took in even American Renaissance’s famously finicky Jared Taylor.[Officer Michael Slager, White Man, April 9, 2015]
As I said the time: “If the report withstands scrutiny, there isn’t a journalism prize big enough for those guys.”
Wait for the Pulitzer announcement!
“Everyone of you, I believe… [said] that you heard about this, and that you’ve seen the video, but my friends in the media showed a portion, and my friends in the media told a story to go with that video, and the story went something like this: In North Charleston, South Carolina, a white policeman stopped a black motorist who had a great life, and the motorist ran away, and the policeman shot him in the back….”Savage also pointed out:
The officer is not shooting a fleeing felon and the shooting is not a Garner seizure. The seizure occurred already, and Scott is actually escaping from custody, which makes him a shoot-on-sight subject. Persons escaping from custody can be shot.Slager and his attorneys were under extraordinary pressure. After the December mis-trial, I spoke to lawyer Andy Savage
VDARE.com: There was a report that said that the prosecution was planning on having him jailed again, in the New Year. Is that true?(Savage said of VDARE.com’s coverage, “You’re the only media that has any sense of fairness.”)
Andy Savage: They have been threatening it. And they’ve been very difficult to me, to say the least. It’s very, very politicized. It’s all about race, and race, and race. That’s all it is.
Slager and his team had also to reckon with the likely composition of any jury. What VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow has said of American politics—“Demography is destiny”—is increasingly true of the criminal justice system. To work a variation on Sol Wachtler’s remark about a grand jury being willing to indict a ham sandwich, you could get an all-black (or black and Hispanic) jury to convict a block of Swiss cheese for being white, or acquit a cup of coffee, for being black.
Fortunately for Slager, in his first trial, 11 jurors were white, and only one was black.
But keep in mind that North Charleston is only 36.9% non-Hispanic white, and 48.2% non-Hispanic black (2015 Census Bureau American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates), and the state prosecutor, Solicitor Scarlett Wilson needs black votes to be re-elected.
Additionally, Slager faced an arguably unconstitutional, double jeopardy, federal “civil rights” set to begin on May 15, with the state re-trial scheduled to begin on August 28. In February, Slager’s lawyers sought to have the federal civil rights charges against him dismissed, saying that “it would be ‘crushingly, unfair’ and ‘highly prejudicial’ to force him to defend against both charges at the same time”. [Michael Slager's lawyers seek dismissal of federal civil rights charges by Clark Mindock, Independent, 14 February 2017] The motion was denied.
Moreover, Andy Savage had announced that he could no longer represent Slager pro-bono. [Motion for public defender to represent Michael Slager in state retrial filed along with several motions in upcoming federal case by Gregory Yee, Post and Courier, Feb 24, 2017.]
There is a limit to what Savage could be expected to do. He honorably took on the case when, in an act of egregious misconduct, Slager’s first attorney, David Aylor, publicly ditched him when he saw that the political climate didn’t look so good. Savage had asked for the state to pay for his expert witnesses in the first trial, and the Public Defender’s Office had declared that Slager qualified as an “indigent defendant,” and thus for such taxpayer support back in December 2015. But black judge Clifton Newman refused to okay such support, thus practically doubling Savage’s costs.
In addition to over $600,000 in investigators and expert testimony fees (“the best of the best” from all over the U.S. and Canada), and probably over $500,000 in billable hours Savage has eaten, he has also had to beg off from taking on many other clients, which likely cost him at least another $500,000 in lost fees, for a total of over $1,600,000 in losses.
(I should say that, during our December interview, Savage emphasized the costs for expert witnesses, while downplaying the cost of his and his staff’s time, and not mentioning his opportunity costs at all).
In contrast, Walter Scott’s family were paid $6.5 million by the City of North Charleston—before a trial had even established the facts of the case. [North Charleston reaches $6.5 million settlement with family of Walter Scott, By Greg Botelho and Sonia Moghe, CNN, October 9, 2015]
In America today, the power of prosecutors is virtually unlimited. As Paul Craig Roberts once said: “They can seize anyone, and any property, at any time.” Michael Slager has had to take a gamble on a federal judge’s sense of fairness in the sentencing phase.
For his sake, and for his family’s (including his infant son), and for America’s, we must hope it pays off.
Nicholas Stix [email him] is a New York City-based journalist and researcher, much of whose work focuses on the nexus of race, crime, and education. He spent much of the 1990s teaching college in New York and New Jersey. His work has appeared in Chronicles, The New York Post, Weekly Standard, Daily News, New York Newsday, American Renaissance, Academic Questions, Ideas on Liberty and many other publications. Stix was the project director and principal author of the NPI report, The State of White America-2007. He blogs at Nicholas Stix, Uncensored.