One of North Charleston’s former police officer has leaned that he’s facing federal charges as a result of his actions during a traffic stop.
The grand jury has opted to hand out indictments against the former officer, Michael Slager. The indictments include charges of: using a firearm while violating civil rights law, violating civil rights laws, and obstruction of justice. Each are very serious offenses that could result in Slager spending time in prison.
The federal charges are just one of the things Slager has to worry about. Even as he learned about the grand jury’s decision, Slager was wearing an ankle monitor, something that the court required before he was freed on a $500,000 bond while he waits for his start murder trial to begin.
The incident that triggered the charges against Slager took place in April 2015. Slager started what should have been a routine traffic stop with Walter Scot who was driving with a broken taillight.
The video camera mounted on the dashboard of Slager’s patrol car showed Slager returning to his car as Scot began to run down a side street. Although the two men can’t be seen on camera, viewers can hear the sounds of a struggle. During the fight, Slager used his Taser in an attempt to subdue Scott. At this point, a cell phone video taken by a witness shows Scott breaking free of Slager and once again running. It’s at this point that Slager draws his weapon and shoots at Scott. Multiple shots were fired.
After seeing the evidence collected by the federal investigators, the Grand Jury ruled that Slager used unreasonable force and that his actions are a potential civil rights violation. The fact that Slager tried to tell investigators that Scott moved towards him with a Taser was the grounds the grand jury needed to issue an obstruction of justice charge.
If found guilty of the civil rights charges, Slager could spend the rest of his life in prison.
“Nothing saddens me more than hearing about one of South Carolina’s police officers behaving badly during what should be routine activities, such as a traffic stop,” said Attorney Joseph Sandefur of South Carolina’s top personal injury firm. “These are supposed to be the good guys, the one we’re supposed to be able to trust in all situations. To learn that’s not always possible is … disheartening. In addition to the criminal charges, I hope the family of the victim decides to persue a wrongful death case in this matter.”
The term wrongful death is used whenever someone dies as a direct result of someone else. Sometimes this can be as a result of drunk driver or product malfunction. Other times, it’s because a police officer uses excessive force during a traffic stop. When this happens, the immediate family of the deceased can file a wrongful death civil lawsuit which often results in them receiving a judgement or settlement to cover both actual and punitive damages. Contact joeandmartin.com for additional information.