South Carolina grand jury indicts former police officer in shooting death
(ABC NEWS) CHARLESTON, S.C. – The police officer who fatally shot Walter Scott after a traffic stop in Charleston, South Carolina, has been indicted by a grand jury, according to the prosecutor’s office.
Monday’s update came from the 9th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, which said it will be trying former North Charleston officer Michael Slager’s case.
Slager was arrested and charged with murder on April 7, three days after he shot Scott. He has not yet had to enter a plea.
The release of cellphone footage shot by an eyewitness had a direct effect on Slager’s arrest, police said immediately after Slager’s arrest, as it showed Scott’s running away from the officer when he was shot multiple times.
The investigation of the shooting was initially handled by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, which then presented the evidence it collected to the Grand Jury.
“The facts that were presented to us by SLED warranted a Grand Jury,” Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said at a news conference this morning.
Scott’s brother spoke briefly after the indictment was announced, saying his family is “happy and pleased” with the decision to prosecute.
One of the attorneys representing the Scott family said, “If you just keep the faith, even in the darkest times, you will see the light.”
The attorney noted the indictment “is step one” and they reportedly plan to file a civil suit in the next few months, though no details about possible legal action have been released.
Slager’s attorney Andy Savage said his team had not been allowed to view the evidence collected by investigators, though it is generally standard procedure for a prosecutor’s office to withhold discovery until after an indictment is handed up.
“The [Grand Jury] is a formal step, but just another step in the criminal process,” Savage said in a statement released to ABC News. “Until we have an opportunity to fully evaluate the State’s case and to compare it with our own investigation we will not be commenting on any aspect of the case.”