Former North Charleston, South Carolina officer Michael Slager says the police association promised to pay his legal bills after he was arrested and charged in the shooting death of Walter Scott, an unarmed Black man.
But now, Slager is crying foul. In a lawsuit filed this week against union leaders, he complains that the payments have stopped, leaving him holding the bag.
Slager is accusing the police organization of breach of contract, bad faith and unfair insurance practices. The association’s website, however, informs members that benefits can be withheld under certain conditions, such as when a “member has committed an intentional, deliberate and/or illegal act.”
The association informed Slager four days after the shooting that he wasn’t entitled to a lawyer, the Associated Press reported. His attorney said they made that decision too soon.
Slager stopped Scott for a broken tail light this spring in an incident that was captured on a bystander’s cell phone video. The video shows Slager shooting Scott five times in the back, contrary to claims by the ex-cop that he shot Scott in self-defense after a struggle during which the victim tried to grab his Taser. The video appears to show Slager dropping and positioning his Taser near Scott’s dead body.
Last month, Scott’s family reached a $6.5 million settlement with the city.