Michael Slager, the North Charleston, South Carolina, cop who killed Walter Scott as he was running away — all dramatically captured on chilling cell-phone video — was freed on bond Monday night after a judge expressed concerns that it was taking too long to bring him to trial.
A grand jury indicted Slager, 34, on a charge of murder after the video surfaced of him shooting Scott, 50, eight times after Scott had turned his back and fled after a daytime traffic stop on April 4.
Scott was black and Slager is white, and the shooting renewed tension in the coastal town over alleged excessive police use of force and systemic racism.
Slager was denied bond in September, but state Circuit Judge Clifton Newman, whom the state Supreme Court appointed to oversee the sensitive case, said Monday that he could go free on house arrest on a $500,000 surety bond.
The Charleston County Sheriff's Office said Slager posted bond at 7 p.m. ET.
Slager's trial isn't scheduled until Oct. 31 — more than a year and a half after Scott's death — because prosecutors said they had to give precedence to the trial of Dylann Roof in the June shooting deaths of nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, which is scheduled for July.
Slager's lawyers argued that keeping him in jail that long without trial was tantamount to punishing him for a crime he hadn't been convicted of yet.
Under a typical surety bond, Slager would have to put up 10 percent of the order — in this case, $50,000 of personal funds — to engage a third party to guarantee he will show up for court appearances. Newman said Slager would be able to leave his home only for court hearings and to visit his attorneys, doctors or church.