Former North Charleston, S.C., Police Officer Michael Slager, who has been charged with the death of unarmed black motorist Walter Scott, is asking for public funding to pay for his second trial. Slager reportedly has requested a court-appointed lawyer but was declined the allowance for government funding to be used for expert witnesses and the private attorney representing him. Public Defender Ashley Pennington filed the request for public funding last week, citing that Slager is relying on donations from friends and family to support his wife and four children and is living below the federal poverty marker; therefore cannot reasonably pay for the second trial.
Slager’s first trial for the murder of Scott ended in December 2016 with a hung jury, and a mistrial declared. Jurors could not agree on whether or not Slager committed a crime in shooting Scott in the back as Scott ran away from him, following a routine traffic stop.
Slager is set for an August retrial as well as a federal trial in May, where Slager will face charges of civil rights violations, lying to authorities and using a firearm for a violent crime. Slager faces a sentence of up to life in prison if convicted in either case.