On April 4, Officer Michael Slager had the misfortune of crossing paths with Walter Scott, a small-time criminal and ne’er-do-well, who had the good fortune of having been born black.
Officer Slager pulled over Scott for driving with a broken tail light, in a car that may have been stolen. (Scott had no title for the car, his explanation was a mass of contradictions, and the authorities have had no interest in determining the truth.)
While the officer checked in his squad car to see if any open warrants were out on Scott, the latter, who knew he was a wanted man (for over $18,000 in unpaid child support), and who had been in jail at least a dozen times, bolted.
Officer Slager caught up with Scott, and had him in custody, but Scott repeatedly assaulted the officer, and ran away a total of at least three times. Before the last time Scott ran, according to a frame-by-frame analysis by The Last Refuge, Scott apparently had shot Officer Slager with the officer’s own Taser, which Scott had repeatedly fought for.
That Officer Michael Slager shot Walter Scott dead is not in dispute. Officer Slager never denied having killed Scott. However, my understanding of the law is that the shooting was clean, because Scott was escaping custody. (Due to a calamitous Supreme Court decision, if a policeman sees a possible murderer fleeing a crime scene, he can no longer order him to stop, and shoot him if he refuses. However, in the case of a prisoner escaping custody, a peace officer still has the right, under law, to employ deadly force to stop him.)
The Main Stream Media have misrepresented just about everything about the incident; Officer Slager was illegally fired from his job, without benefit of due process; his first attorney, David Aylor threw legal ethics out the window when he deserted his client; and Slager’s police fraternal organization corruptly left him to twist in the wind without representation, after fraudulently cashing his dues checks for years.
Slager should have had a bond hearing last spring, and should have been bonded out. Prior to April 4, he had led an exemplary life, he posed no threat to the community, and the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution forbids the levying of excessive bail, unwarranted pre-trial confinement, or cruel and unusual punishment.
Not only has Slager never been convicted of any crimes—the charges against him are exceedingly dubious. In acting as if Slager had already been convicted of murder, Judge Clifton Newman is violating the presumption of innocence, and engaging in cruel and unusual punishment.
When investigators for Slager’s attorney, Andy Savage, combed the scene of the shooting, they found two rounds from Slager’s weapon that state crime scene investigators from the supposedly elite department SLED [South Carolina Law Enforcement Division] had missed. Savage has not only charged SLED with incompetence, but with criminal malice (my words, not his), in allegedly covering up Savage’s notification of the new evidence by deleting the record of Savage’s new information.
When Michael Slager was arrested, his wife was eight months pregnant with their first child together. Although the Slagers’ child was born, Michael Slager has never been permitted to see his now 7-8 month-old son, Isaiah, up close, hold him in his arms, kiss him, or call him by his name. The father is only permitted to view his son and wife via closed circuit TV from jail.
Until now, I have refrained from going after presiding Judge Clifton Newman, who is black, on racial grounds, since there were so many other targets to fire on. However, Judge Newman’s racism can no longer be ignored.
In September, Judge Newman denied Slager bail—and he is now refusing to release funds necessary to the defense’s investigation of the case.
A report on Christmas Eve says that
The criticisms continued Wednesday afternoon as [Slager’s attorney Savage] described some of the decisions made by the court so far in the case as laying the groundwork for judicial relief, in his opinion, and calling into question Newman’s ability to be impartial in the matter.” [Emphasis added.]What is Judge Newman up to? Does he wish to drive Michael Slager to commit suicide? Does he seek to coerce him into a guilty plea? Or has his misconduct simply been an exercise in gratuitous sadism?
The interests of justice require that Judge Newman must be removed from the case.
I have spoken previously of the crucifixion of Michael Slager. His case is yet another example of the banality of evil in Obama’s America. Let us all pray for him… and then do more than pray.
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — The Ninth Circuit Public Defender’s Office has said Michael Slager, the former North Charleston police officer accused of murder in the shooting death of Walter Scott, meets the guidelines for financial assistance from the state for his ongoing defense.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.
Attorneys for Slager are seeking state funding to pay for expert witnesses through the indigent defense program, so the afternoon decision is a step in the defense’s direction.
But Judge Clifton Newman still has to allow taxpayer funds to go towards Slager’s defense. In this case, the money would be used to secure expert witnesses. During Wednesday morning’s hearing, attorney Andy Savage said his team had already spent in excess of $100,000 on the case.
Savage, who is working on the Slager case pro bono, also noted he has yet to ask for any kind of payment for his legal assistance.
“We have not asked for one cent for any of the lawyers working hundreds and hundreds of hours on this case,” Savage said, pointing to a table packed with attorneys surrounding Slager.
But Hugh Ryan, one of two indigent defense experts brought into the court Wednesday to address the ex parte motion, said the way the case has played out could set a peculiar precedent for defendants to take on pro bono legal help only to seek indigence to get access to taxpayer funds to cover the cost of experts. Ryan says the indigent defense office still wants to know how much a defense team expects to spend on experts; they don’t write blank checks, he said.
The issue with declaring Slager indigent, Ryan pointed out, was the order in which the case happened.
Before Savage, David Aylor took the case but backed out of it after the release of the cellphone video showing Slager shoot 50-year-old Walter Scott in the back as he ran away. Savage took the case pro bono, but did not complete the process to declare Slager indigent and have an attorney appointed to him.
Ryan says that means Savage is neither a contracted attorney assigned to the case or a public defender appointed to the case, which complicates the matter.
“I think we’re facing a novel situation here,” Ryan told the court.
State law outlines several types of indigent services for defendants who cannot pay for private legal help. One rule deals with the appointment of a competent attorney to the case. Another deals with getting access to money in the indigent defense fund to pay for expert witnesses to appear.
Savage is arguing for the latter.
The hearing came about after Savage asked for an opportunity to address a consent order that had gone unsigned by Newman, and Newman’s release of information about an ex parte motion filed on Slager’s behalf to declare him indigent and eligible for state-funded defense services.
Savage called the discussion of Slager’s indigence during a phone call involving attorneys on both sides of the case a “violation of the defendant’s rights” and said he felt the court was “intimidating.”
The criticisms continued Wednesday afternoon as Savage described some of the decisions made by the court so far in the case as laying the groundwork for judicial relief, in his opinion, and calling into question Newman’s ability to be impartial in the matter.
Until that call, Solicitor Scarlett Wilson was unaware Slager was seeking a declaration of indigence. Wilson also told the court she did not think it was her place to know the defendant’s financial status; she was only interested in knowing that he had competent legal counsel.
“I don’t think I have a dog in this fight,” Wilson told Newman.
Savage loudly objected three times to Newman’s remarks. “I cannot stay seated when this court changes the facts of this case,” he said.
Savage also asked about two other motions he had filed, one of a speedy trial and another for setting bond for Slager. But Newman said he would not discuss those issues and would let attorneys know when hearings to discuss those topics would be held as soon as he scheduled them.
He did not give a timeline to setting those schedules, to Savage’s chagrin.
Slager has been held in an isolated area of the Charleston County Detention Center since his arrest in April.
[Michael Slager Declared Indigent, by WCIV-ABC, December 24, 2015. Emphases added.]