Who Is Michael Slager, The South Carolina Cop Arrested For Shooting An Unarmed Black Man?
The South Carolina officer arrested on Tuesday and charged with murder had been with the North Charleston police department since 2009, reports out of NBC News indicated on Tuesday. But despite the five years of service, the police department arrested Michael Slager after video footage of him shooting an unarmed black man surfaced this week. By Tuesday evening, Slager had been charged and booked into the Charleston County Jail.
Patrolman 1st Class Slager, 33, had a clean official record prior to Saturday's shooting, and according to a report by The Post and Courier, he had never faced any disciplinary issues. The North Charleston Police Department veteran had previously served in the U.S. Coast Guard and had never been in trouble with the law, reported the paper.
But the gleaming credentials didn't quite stack up perfectly. The Post and Courier also reported that two complaints had been filed against Slager during his tenure with the department, one of which was reported in September 2013 by a man who alleged that Slager had "shot him with a Taser for no reason." The matter was subsequently investigated internally, and Slager was exonerated of any wrongdoing. On Sept. 16 of that year, a woman alleged that Slager had failed to file a proper incident report for her after Slager was dispatched to a dispute at her home. The woman alleged that Slager had told her he would not file the report because of the "ongoing back and forth problems that [she] and the suspect [were] having." The complaint against Slager's performance was sustained and closed, the North Charleston Police Department confirmed to Bustle via police documents on Tuesday.
Slager is a father of two stepchildren, and his wife is expecting a baby. He had been previously represented by Attorney David Aylor. On Tuesday, however, Aylor indicated to the press that he would no longer be representing Slager. The Post and Courier reported that it was unclear on Tuesday evening whether Slager had hired new representation.
When he was still Slager's attorney, Aylor released a statement indicating that the officer believed he had done his job correctly. "Officer Slager believes he followed all the proper procedures and policies of the North Charleston Police Department," wrote Aylor. Before being arrested, Slager had been placed on administrative leave.
The North Charleston Police Department on Tuesday shared with Bustle Slager's official employment records, which indicated that the officer had been referred to apply by an Officer William Janicki in January 2009. Previously, the high school graduate had spent seven years working in the Coast Guard. In 2010, Slager received his Taser certification after completing an eight-hour course with the Taser Training Academy.
Reuters reported on Tuesday evening that the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and the South Carolina U.S. Attorney's Office together were working with the FBI to pursue a federal probe into the incident. If Slager is convicted of murder, he faces up to 30 years in prison or the death penalty, in accordance to South Carolina law.
Images: Charleston County Sheriff's Office official photo release