In an exclusive interview with VDARE.com, Andy Savage, the defense attorney for white former North Charleston SC police officer Michael Slager charged–absurdly excessively—with murder in the shooting death of black deadbeat Walter Scott, says South Carolina authorities acted with rank incompetence, publicity-seeking, violating state rules of criminal procedure, and breaking the law.
VDARE.com has been alone in reporting the extraordinary persecution of Slager. He was arrested on April 7, and Slager’s employer, Chief Eddie Driggers, [Email him] fired him on April 8—without waiting for any court to rule on his case.
At the time of Slager’s arrest, Chief Driggers engaged in folksy, emotional shtick, claiming to think of his officers as “my children.” [Shooting Makes North Charleston Chief's Outreach Job Harder, AP, New York Times, April 13, 2015]
But Driggers promptly retreated to a Politically Correct apparatchik shtick more acceptable to Main Stream Media enforcers. Thus he subsequently fired another white officer, Sgt. Shannon Dildine, for posting online a photograph of himself wearing boxer shorts emblazoned with the Confederate Battle Flag—which Driggers said in his termination letter “symbolizes hate and oppression to a significant portion of the citizens we are sworn to serve.” [North Charleston police chief fires officer for Confederate Flag photo found on Facebook, WCIV/ABC4, June 25, 2015.]
Note that posing in boxer shorts is apparently OK with Chief Driggers.
Michael Slager has now been in jail at the Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center in North Charleston for over four months—in solitary confinement. At the time of his arrest, Slager’s wife was in the last stages of pregnancy.
Practices vary between jurisdictions, but my experience as a crime reporter is that a bond hearing would normally have taken place shortly after Slager’s arrest. He is not a flight risk and is obviously unlikely to kill again, so his release would normally be near-automatic. But black judge Clifton Newman (pictured right) has apparently not granted bail. [Prominent black judge tapped to preside over Walter Scott case, By Trymaine Lee, April 15, 2015.]
Michael Slager’s defense attorney, Andy Savage, recently spoke with me for the first time.
Savage told me that the Slagers had had their baby, a son they have named Isaac. He was “big” and healthy. But his father has not been allowed even to touch him. Slager can only watch his son via video monitor in jail, while his wife and son see him via a second monitor from Savage’s office.
The baby doesn’t even know he has a father— knowledge that comes from being held, kissed, and falling asleep in his father’s arms.
I asked Savage if he knew whether the car Walter Scott was driving, which Scott claimed to own when stopped by Officer Slager, but for which he had no documents, belonged to Scott, was stolen, or whether there was some other explanation as to its status.
Savage said he’d asked the same question, but that Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson had not answered it.
Savage confirmed that, at the time of his death, Walter Scott was behind almost $20,000 in child support payments. (The MSM has refused to report on how many different mothers Scott had sired his four known children with, or whether he had ever married any of them.)
Savage has complained that SLED [South Carolina Law Enforcement Division] crime scene investigators had failed to find two rounds that Slager had fired from his gun at the crime scene, which Savage’s investigators later found.
In other words, Slager fired his weapon ten times, hitting Scott five times—three times in the back, once in the ear, and once in his buttocks. This is in contrast to some MSM “reporters,” such as USA Today’s Yamiche Alcindor [email her], who asserted that Slager fired eight times, and shot Scott in the back all eight times.
(Real crime scene investigators are not at all like the ones you see on the series of TV’s CSI franchise. In the age of diversity, the real McCoy, like police lab scientists, exhibit dwindling competence, diligence, honesty and reliability.)
In a motion filed on June 17, Savage noted SLED’s missing of the two rounds, and also charged that SLED had destroyed a notice from him regarding the newly-found evidence and with other derelictions:
He [Savage] accused state investigators of destroying evidence and asked the court to look into it.In Andy Savage’s August 4 motion for a bond hearing, which he sent me, he again criticized SLED:
"The original laser scan was, for reasons not explained therein, deleted electronically," Savage wrote. "The Court should enter an order requiring preservation of any and all remaining documentary evidence of the conduct of this investigation, as well as any evidence concerning the past destruction of such evidence."
Savage also wrote that he has not been allowed access to his client’s file, despite a Freedom of Information Act request.
"SLED has aggressively crafted the narrative of this incident and its investigation by way of documents and statements released to the press in what it’s released to the media," he wrote.
A SLED spokesperson said it would be inappropriate to comment on the filing while the investigation is ongoing.
Michael Slager's attorney accuses SLED of destroying evidence in Walter Scott shooting, WCIV/ABC4, July 6, 2015.]
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.Savage further charged, in his motion, that Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson had violated the South Carolina Rules of Criminal Procedure, which require that prosecutors hand over the “extensive exculpatory evidence” to defense counsel within one month. Solicitor Wilson has kept Slager in jail, without a bond hearing, for four months.
Savage has made at least six supplemental motions for discovery. He has also made three Freedom of Information requests with SLED (on April 10 and 22, and on July 13). Apparently, none have elicited a response.
I have spoken repeatedly with (as well as leaving messages for) Solicitor Wilson’s press representative, Naomi Nation Email her , who was unfailingly polite, and who told me that she would pass along my questions to Solicitor Wilson (“That is something that Solicitor Wilson will have to address”). But Solicitor Wilson [Email her] has never responded to my inquiries.
I also left a message for SLED press representative Thom Berry. [email him ] He had not gotten back to me at press time.
It’s bad enough when public officials sandbag journalists. But Andy Savage is a prominent and respected Charleston attorney. When criminal justice officials sandbag a defense attorney, they’re sandbagging justice.
VDARE.com welcomes hearing SLED and Solicitor Wilson’s respective takes on the case. But that requires that they respond to our inquiries.
Michael Slager’s first Circuit Court hearing is scheduled for August 21. Oddly, the bond hearing has finally been scheduled later [Bond hearing for Michael Slager set for August 27, WCSC (CBS), August 6, 2015.
Slager Attorney Savage writes in an email to me:
It is clear that the State's case contains a significant amount of exculpatory evidence which SLED elected not to release and evidence that contradicts what incriminating evidence SLED asserted as fact. We will have a hearing on the 27th and will go into detail at that time with a submission of evidence for the court's consideration and for the public to consider the fairness to Slager and also opine what political reasons there may have been for the lack of transparency by law enforcement and political operatives.
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.