Lawsuit Settles Against Michael Slager for Tasing
Former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager was charged with murder or voluntary manslaughter in the killing of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man. Walter Scott was shot in the back 5 times. Slager’s state trial began on November 3, 2016, with closing arguments on November 30, 2016. It ended with a hung jury. Slager is scheduled to be retried by the State of South Carolina, and also by the federal government. His trial was reported on this blog.
Meanwhile, three men had filed lawsuits against North Charleston for being wrongfully or excessively tased by Michael Slager. Two have reached settlement. Mario Givens was awarded $27,500 and Jerome Stanley $50,000 for their 2013 run-ins with Slager.
The Post Courier reports:
“They were among three people who filed actions in 2015 amid intense scrutiny of the city’s police force. An eyewitness video of patrolman Michael Slager shooting the fleeing black man sparked the frenzy.
The men alleged excessive use of the stun gun, though Slager’s lawyers have defended his record as exemplary.”
Mario Givens is quoted as saying,
“If they’d listened to me Walter Scott might not be dead’: Man who filed excessive force complaint after being tasered by ‘killer cop’ in 2013 speaks out – and announces he’s suing.”
Givens was initially charged with resisting arrest, but was later released without charge. He filed a police complaint but Slager was exonerated. Andy Savage, Slager’s criminal defense lawyer, has sought to bar any mention of the settlements at the trials on the basis that they misrepresent the lawman’s past. Savage is of the opinion that Slage was a gentle officer and not aggressive or over the top.
Julius Wilson was the first to file a lawsuit against Slager. Wilson who was shot in the back with a taser during a 2014 traffic stop, was not a party to the settlement. Wilson’s attorneys promised to delve into what they called unconstitutional police practices, and so far, they have succeeded. A federal magistrate judge has allowed Wilson’s suit to proceed.
On March 14, 2017, Slager asked a judge for a public defender to represent him at his retrial for the shooting death of Walter Scott. If the judge approves, private attorney Andy Savage will be replaced by Chief Public Defender Ashley Pennington. During a hearing, Pennington told Judge Clifton Newman that Slager is indigent and asked that Savage stay on the case in an advisory capacity.