Michael Slager, the former North Charleston police officer charged with murder for shooting a fleeing man after a traffic stop, refused to speak to investigators at the scene that day, officials revealed Tuesday.
According to South Carolina Law Enforcement Division spokesman Thom Berry, investigators from the agency arrived at the shooting scene around 10:30 a.m. on April 4, less than an hour after Slager fatally shot 50-year-old Walter Scott.
When investigators attempted to speak to Slager, he told them he had retained an attorney, Berry said.
“We ceased any questioning and we then contacted his attorney,” Berry told The Times on Tuesday. David Aylor, who at the time was representing Slager, told law enforcement officials that he would make Slager available to investigators on April 7 at his office.
Before investigators had the chance to interview him, Slager released a statement April 6 through Aylor’s office. The statement claimed the two had wrestled for control of his stun gun and Slager felt threatened, which led him to use his firearm.
According to a cellphone video of the encounter, Slager fired eight times at Scott as he ran away. Scott was struck in the back by four rounds. A fifth round grazed his ear. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators began interviewing Slager on the morning of April 7, Berry said, and Slager was arrested later that day at the end of the interview. He was charged with murder and fired.
Following the release of the cellphone video that contested Slager’s version of events, Aylor removed himself as Slager’s attorney. Neither Aylor or Slager’s current attorney, Andy Savage, could immediately be reached for comment.
Prosecutors said Monday that they plan to present the case to a grand jury. Slager is being held at a Charleston jail.
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