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Former S.C. State Trooper Sean Groubert Sentenced For The Shooting Of Levar Jones

Levar Jones

In the comment section of this blog on the post written by towerflower titled We Want His Badge, we discussed the shooting of Levar Jones in Columbia, South Carolina on September 4, 2014.

On September 4, 2014, State Trooper Sean Groubert pulled into a gas station behind Levar Jones for a seat-belt violation.  He asked Levar for his license. Levar reached into his vehicle to get his license and Groubert shot him 4 times.

Sean Groubert was terminated from his job, and charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.  The judge issued a $75,000 cash bond. Groubert remained in jail and in March 2016, he plead guilty.

The State reports that Groubert’s defense attorneys said that Groubert developed PTSD after an August 2012 car chase and shootout with a suspect. The disorder, which they say went undiagnosed, contributed to Groubert overreacting and shooting Levar Jones during the traffic stop in September 2014.

At his sentencing, prosecutors argued that while in jail, Groubert complained that black people in South Carolina “had a chip on their shoulder.” Read the rest of this entry

Lawsuit Settles Against Michael Slager for Tasing

Michael Slager, left. Mario Givens, right.

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. Read the rest of this entry

Dylann Roof’s Federal Trial Begins

Victims at AME Church

On June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof went to the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina where they were holding Bible Study.  He shot and killed 9 people.  A manhunt resulted, and Roof was found and arrested in North Carolina.  He confessed to the killings.

Roof is an avowed White supremacist who perceived that he had to save the White race from Blacks.  He wanted to start a race war.  Roof waited until parishioners closed their eyes to pray  before firing his Glock .45-caliber pistol.  When it was over, Roof had fired more than 70 shots, striking his victims 60 times.

The 22-year old is charged with 12 federal counts of hate crimes, 12 counts of obstructing the exercise of religion, and 9 counts of firearm violations.   Federal prosecutors seek the death penalty.

Discarding empty magazines and reloading his weapon, Roof found survivor Polly Sheppard hiding as she prayed. Roof told her to shut up, before asking if she had been shot. Sheppard was then told that she would be left alive so that she could tell others what had occurred. She will likely serve as the final witness for the prosecution in the guilt phase of the trial.

Since he was arrested, there have been numerous pleadings and hearings in the case.  To report on each one would be tedious.  The most recent included a motion to find Roof mentally incompetent to stand trial.  The court denied that motion.  The LA Times reports that Judge Gergel found Roof capable of standing trial on the basis that he completed the 9th grade and had an “extremely high IQ” and was able to understand courtroom proceedings.  A legal expert however, stated that there is a clear difference between intellectual ability and judgment.

It is not known what type of mental illness or emotional disturbance Roof may or may not have because the hearings were closed to the public.

Roof’s attorneys offered to change Roof’s plea to guilty in exchange for a sentence of life in prison without parole.   Federal prosecutors turned down the offer.

Just before jury selection, Roof motioned the judge to release his attorneys.  He wanted to represent himself.  The judge granted Roof’s motion.  After jury selection, Roof asked the judge to rehire his attorneys, but he wants to represent himself during the penalty phase.   The judge granted his motion. Read the rest of this entry

Former Police Officer Michael Slager on Trial for Killing Walter Scott

2015-04-08t23-05-56-033z-1280x720-nbcnews-ux-1080-600On April 4, 2015, in North Charleston, South Carolina, at approximately 9:30 a.m., Walter Scott was pulled over for a non-functioning brake-light.  At some point, Walter got out of his car and ran.  He was pursued by police officer Michael Slager.  The situation ended with Slager shooting 50-year old Walter 5 times in the back as Walter ran away from him.

A by-stander recorded the portion of the incident where Walter ran, Slager fired his gun, and then picked up a taser and placed it by Walter’s body.  Slager’s defense centered around the taser.  He alleged that Walter used the taser on him and was coming towards him, causing him to shoot Walter.  Slager’s original lawyer, David Aylor, withdrew as counsel within hours of the release of the video. Read the rest of this entry

Dylann Roof’s Request For Bench Trial Denied

On June 17, 2015, Dylann killed-by-darynn-roof-we-remember3Roof staged a massacre at the Emanuel AME Church during Bible study.  Among those who killed were Pastor Clementa Pinckney.  Roof has been charged under South Carolina law where prosecutors seek the death penalty.  He has also been charged under federal law.

Roof, 22-years old, is charged with murder and attempted murder on the state level.  Federal prosecutors have charged Roof with 33 counts, including hate crimes, obstruction of religion, and firearms offenses.

On June 7, 2016, federal Judge Richard M. Gergel scheduled Roof’s trial to begin on a November 7, 2016.  The trial is estimated to take about 6 weeks. The judge turned down an earlier request by the South Carolina prosecutor, Scarlett A. Wilson, to allow the state’s trial to go forth first.  It is scheduled for January, 2017.  Jury selection in the state trial is due to start in early December, which could overlap with the federal proceedings.

To select 12 impartial jurors, Judge Gergel planned to have 1,500 prospective jurors called statewide for jury duty.  Jury selection includes 12 and 6 alternates.  Roof’s attorneys filed a document that Roof will waive his right to a trial by jury.  The filing does not give a reason for why Roof wants to waive a trial by jury.  Read the rest of this entry

Michael Slager Indicted on Civil Rights and Federal Murder Charges

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Michael Slager at his bail hearing

On April 4, 2015, Walter Scott was stopped for a traffic violation by South Carolina police officer Michael Slager.  Fifty-year old Walter ran, and Slager shot Walter 8 times in the back, killing him.  A man walking by captured the event on video.

Slager made a report to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division investigator saying that he shot Walter as Walter was moving towards him with the officer’s taser.  The video shows differently, and also that Slager placed his taser on the ground beside Walter’s dead body.

Slager was arrested and charged with murder.  He was fired from the police force and placed in solitary confinement. In January, Slager was released on half a million dollars bail and placed under house arrest, allowed to only leave for work, church, medical appointments and appointments with attorneys. Read the rest of this entry

Former Cop Michael Slager Denied Bond

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Michael Slager in court on Sept. 10, 2015

Former North Charleston officer Michael Slager was indicted by a grand jury in the shooting death of Walter Scott.  He has been charged with murder. Slager was arrested on April 7, 2015, when a citizen who took the video of Slager shooting Walter made it public. If convicted, Slager faces a sentence of 30 years to life without parole. Slager was denied bond and has been in jail. It is said that Dylan Roof, the man who killed 9 people in an AME church, has a cell next to or across from Slager.

The video of Slager shooting 8 times at Walter as Walter ran became very controversial. Slager shot Walter 5 times in the back, killing him. Those who tend to support the shooting, like Slager, argue what took place before the actual shooting. In effort to have the court set bond, Slager’s attorney argued that Walter had cocaine and alcohol in his system. Slager’s story of Walter trying to take his taser and other things do not appear to justify shooting Walter in the back as he was running away. Read the rest of this entry

Dylann Roof Indicted On Federal Hate Crime Charges

In a 16-page federal grand jury indictment, Dylann Roof, the 21-year old who killed 9 people in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, has been indicted on 33 counts of federal charged, including hate crimes, firearms violations, and obstructing the practice of religion.

Killed by Darynn Roof - We RememberU.S. Attorney General Lorette Lynch announced the charges yesterday. The federal charges are in addition to the state murder charges. The Justice Department has not decided whether it will seek the death penalty against Roof, nor whether its prosecution will come prior to the state’s case.

South Carolina does not have a state hate-crime law. AG Lynch stated that the federal charges were needed to adequately deal with a defendant that “decided to seek out and murder African-Americans because of their race.” Read the rest of this entry

Any Topic Discussion – July 11th 2015

What’s good Blackbutterfly7? Santiago here,  checking in with an any topic discussion thread.  Feel free to share your thoughts as to recent events that may or may not have been covered by us recently.

As for myself, it’s been a pretty busy week.  Our house has sold and we will be moving out by the end of August. Court took place this week.  The defendant entered a plea of not guilty  Trial is set for September 8th.

My Soap Box For Today

_83814089_b573ff33-c9eb-4fb1-af06-57d7bcc1b846South Carolina finally did what should have been done years ago in taking down the Confederate Flag.  (Really, it should have never been flown after the Civil War.) The flag’s removal has caused some to go off the deep end with their arguments that the flag does not represent oppression and bigotry, but rather their history and southern pride.

As slanted as those claims might be, here is what that flag represents to me. Read the rest of this entry

The Stars and Bars…

Silence and Shame after Charleston

Padre Steve's World...Musings of a Progressive Realist in Wonderland

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Friends of Padre Steve’s World

I have been amazed over the past couple of days following the terrorist attack committed by Dylann Roof on the pastor and parishioners of Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. What has amazed me is the number of prominent Republican politicians, including a number running for president who are in full denial mode about the motivation of this young man. Not only that, anyone now asserting the truth that this was a racially motivated terrorist attack committed by a White Supremacist who evidently wrote a manifesto on a White Supremacist website, who told his victims “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.” He confessed to the killings and even said that he almost didn’t go through with them because the people were so nice to him.

Even so prominent Republicans, Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry…

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Mass Hate Crime Murders in Charleston, SC

No matter what path you walk, there is a basic truth that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control are the 9 spiritual fruits, the evidence seen in how we live – indeed, why we live.   Last night in Charleston, South Carolina, people gathered in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church for prayer. Nine of them were murdered. ABC reports that at least one is in the hospital wounded.

May their spilled blood produce the fruits of righteous judgment and spring forth trees of love.

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Rev. Pinckney

Reported early is that among the victims is Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, who was also a Democratic State Senator. Rev. Pinckney was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1996 at the age of 23. In 2000, at the age of 27, he was elected to the State Senate. He was one of the youngest persons and the youngest African-American in South Carolina to be elected to the State Legislature. His committee assignments included Senate Finance, Banking and Insurance, Transportation, Medical Affairs and Corrections and Penology. He and his wife Jennifer have two children.

Police say the suspect is a clean-shaven white man in his 20s, with a slender build. He was wearing a gray sweatshirt, blue jeans and boots. Read the rest of this entry

Two South Carolina Police Officers Sentenced For Depriving Mentally Disabled Woman of Her Rights

Yesterday, federal Judge Bryan Harwell said that the bad actions of two officers ruined the good work of thousands of honest officers.

“This one incident can cause the public to lose respect and overshadow the good work, the hard work, done by thousands of officers every day,” Harwell said.

In October last year, Franklin Brown and Eric Walters pleaded guilty to deprivation of rights under color of law.  The DOJ took the case from the state and the officers reached the plea deals through federal prosecutors.

o-SC-COPS-facebookIt happened in April 2013 in Marion, South Carolina. Eric Walters was patrolling when he saw Melissa Davis walking out of the yard of a home for sale. He asked her what she was doing, thinking she might have broken into the home. He tased Melissa because she did not quickly respond. While on the ground, Walters ordered Melissa to put her hands behind her back, but he shocked her 4 more times with his taser before she could respond.

Franklin Brown responded to the scene, and saw Walters removing the taser probes from Melissa’s back. Walters had then determined that Melissa had not done anything wrong. However, Brown noticed that one of Melissa’s hands had slipped from her improperly applied handcuffs, and he used his taser on Melissa again. According to court documents, Melissa was not trying to fight or escape.

Prosecutors said that Brown shocked Melissa a total of three times, then offered to let her go if he could shoot her in the forehead with his Taser. Brown told the other officers at the scene he shot Melissa with his taser because he “did not want to touch that nasty bitch.” Brown’s statement is a part of his plea agreement. Read the rest of this entry

North Charleston Police Officer Charged With Murder

A passerby video taken by cell phone showed a man running, his back turned, as 8 bullets were fired at him until he fell. Had investigators depended solely on North Charleston Police Officer’s Michael T. Slager’s story, the 33-year old might not have been charged with murder.

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Walter Scott

Slager stopped 50-year old Walter Scott for a broken brake light and found that Scott was wanted on a warrant for failure to pay child support. Slager claimed he tried to subdue Scott with a taser, only for Scott to take the taser from him before trying to overpower him, making the cop fear for his life, leaving him no choice but to open fire.

Michael Slager booking photo

Michael Slager’s booking photo

Read the rest of this entry

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