The chief defense attorney for a former North Charleston police officer accused of shooting a fleeing black driver in the back following a traffic stop struggle said he met with officials from the U.S. Justice Department last week to evaluate how the federal case against the former officer has been viewed so far.
Michael Slager is facing a federal civil rights trial in May for the 2015 shooting of Walter Scott, whose death was caught on cellphone video by a bystander.
According to the Charleston Post and Courier, statements about police oversight by Trump administration officials have created doubt among civil rights groups about how they would pursue the federal case.
But Slager’s attorney Andy Savage insisted the meeting was to air several girevances by the defense team and that he has not seen a change in the way the federal government would prosecute the case.
The newspaper reported Savage said his meeting was with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
Slager pulled over Scott for a broken brake light in April 2015. Not long after giving Slager his license, dashcam video showed Scott ran from his car, leading the officer to pursue. A scuffled ensued and the officer claimed Scott grabbed his Taser. A bystander recorded what happened next on his cell phone as Slager, later arguing he had feared for his safety, fired at Scott as the other man tried to run through a vacant lot.