Suspicious Fire Breaks Out at Home of South Carolina Police Officer Charged With Murder of Unarmed Black Man

Former police officer Michael Slager walks to the defense table bond hearing, in Charleston, South Carolina, September 10, 2015. (PHOTO CREDIT: Reuters/Randall Hill)
Former police officer Michael Slager walks to the defense table bond hearing, in Charleston, South Carolina, September 10, 2015. (PHOTO CREDIT: Reuters/Randall Hill)

A small, suspicious fire broke out at the South Carolina home of a white former police officer who is charged with murder in the shooting death of an unarmed black man, local media reported on Saturday.

Vinyl siding was damaged at the home of former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager and an incendiary device was found at the scene, authorities told the Post and Courier newspaper in Charleston, South Carolina.

Slager is accused of shooting 50-year-old Walter Scott in the back as he ran away from the officer during a traffic stop in April 2015. The shooting was caught on video by a bystander and intensified a national debate on police treatment of minorities.

The fire at Slager’s Hanahan home came hours after protests over the release of Slager earlier in the day.

The blaze was put out by a neighbor at about 9:30 p.m. local time on Friday, according to the newspaper. Police and fire officials were not immediately available for comment.

A police official told the newspaper that two people dressed in black were seen running away from the house and that an arson investigation is underway.

Slager, 34, is under house arrest, according to an attorney for Scott’s family, after being released from jail on $500,000 bail on Monday. It is unclear whether he was at the house at the time of the fire.

A small group of demonstrators clashed during a rally at North Charleston City Hall on Friday morning.

In a heated exchange during the morning demonstration, long-time activists encouraged non-violent protests, while some younger demonstrators hinted that it was time to “disturb the peace” and fight violence with violence, according to the Post and Courier report.

Police have not said there is any link between the protesters and the fire at Slager’s house later that night.

SOURCE: Reuters