The shooting of Walter Scott by Police Officer Slager was immediately broadcast to the world. Unfortunately, like many of those previous broadcasts, the narrative transmitted was fraught with manipulation and agenda. The Scott family brought in Ryan Julison to direct the media and tell a story. A very specific story.
Now, the attorney for Officer Slager has to begin a careful and deliberate process of bringing truthful sunlight upon the shooting.
SOUTH CAROLINA – Private investigators for the former North Charleston policeman jailed in Walter Scott’s death found two bullets that had been missed by state agents who examined the shooting scene two weeks earlier, according to court documents filed by the officer’s attorney.
But it was how the State Law Enforcement Division handled other evidence that has prompted a point of legal contention and a motion by Michael Slager’s attorney for a court inquiry into the agency’s destruction of evidence.
After collecting the projectiles, an agent reported that he redid three-dimensional scans of the scene because the originals had been deleted, according to a SLED document included in the motion.
The attorney, Andy Savage of Charleston, said this week that it cannot be known whether the destruction of the scans made on the day of the shooting will have any impact on the case until SLED provides a more detailed explanation for the action.
SLED spokesman Thom Berry said he could not comment on any specifics of the agency’s ongoing investigation or on court documents. Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson also did not immediately discuss whether the recent development would affect the prosecution.
[…] The move added to a list of concerns Savage said he has developed because SLED has used the media to control a narrative of the April 4 shooting and failed to reveal any evidence that could help explain the events leading to his client’s actions.
A bystander’s cellphone video showed the officer shooting at Scott eight times from behind. Scott, 50, was running away after what authorities and Slager’s previous attorney said was a struggle over the officer’s Taser.
[…] Authorities have not made public whether Slager’s Taser was ever fired during the confrontation. The bystander who filmed the shooting, though, has said he heard the weapon go off, and the SLED document in the recent court motion referred to two stun gun cartridges found at the scene.
On the day of Scott’s death, SLED agents got an initial account of what the police said had occurred. But they did not get an interview with Slager until the cellphone video surfaced.
Two days after the footage was made public, SLED Chief Mark Keel said in a statement that his agents had been suspicious of the official account from the start. “It is our nature throughout the investigation process to analyze all of the evidence in this and any other case to ensure a fair and impartial investigation,” Keel said then.
The evidence they missed, though, was inside a perimeter agents established at the crime scene, according to Savage’s court filing. On the day of the shooting, agents with a metal detector looked over a pile of leaves, near two fences and around where Scott’s body had been lying, but they did not find the objects.
[…] The private investigators hired by Savage, Steve Russell of Mount Pleasant and John Paolucci of Brewster, N.Y., came across the bullets on April 20 while walking through the same area. They called deputies to the site, and SLED agents later collected the evidence.
Lab experts matched one of the bullets to Slager’s .45-caliber pistol, Savage said, but the other was in such poor condition that it could not be linked to a specific firearm.
Two days after the discovery and 19 days after the shooting, agents again returned and used a FARO laser scanner to create a 3-D rendering of the site.
An agent had started to scan the scene on the day of the shooting, Savage said, but another told him to stop. “The first scan was deleted due to the scanning process not being completed,” the SLED document stated. (read more)