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How ex-S.C. cop charged with murder spends his time behind bars

Former South Carolina officer Michael Slager's dashboard camera shows a new perspective on what happened
Former S.C. cop's mother was "shocked" at son's murder charge 02:39

A former police officer charged with the murder of a man after the incident was caught on video in South Carolina is being kept in isolation for his protection, his lawyer told CBS News' Misty Showalter.

Michael Thomas Slager, who is white, is charged with murder in the shooting death of Walter Scott, a black man, after a traffic stop.

Slager lives in a room with one small window and guards make regular stops by his cell, attorney Andy Savage told Showalter. Slager has no interaction with other detainees, and when he moves anywhere, all the cell blocks in his path are cleared out, according to his lawyer.

Savage met with Slager Wednesday for an hour, and the lawyer said it took an hour and 45 minutes to move Slager to the meeting place because they had to clear all of the cell blocks. Savage said his client can only speak to family through a videoconference -- or through thick plexiglass if his attorney is present.

The officer's mother, Karen Sharpe, visited her son Friday for the first time since the shooting.

"You never want to see these things happen to your family and I grieve for them. I grieve for us because this is such a life changer," Karen Sharpe told CBS News correspondent Vicente Arenas before visiting his son.

Slager's mother said she still hasn't been able to watch the footage.

"He's a loving, caring person and he wants to help people," Sharpe said. "That's why he became a police officer."

Scarlett Wilson, prosecutor for Charleston County, said she will work with law enforcement agencies to seek an indictment next month from a county grand jury on the murder charge against Slager.

Wilson said that while Slager has had an appearance before a magistrate on the charges, only a circuit judge can set bond on a murder charge in South Carolina. And she said there has not been a request from Slager's defense to have such a bond hearing.

In a statement, Wilson says her office cannot comment on the merits of a case.

"This office does not dictate nor comment upon police policy, training and procedure," she said. "I am, however, deeply concerned when those who are sworn to serve and protect violate the public's trust."

Dash cam video shows routine traffic stop before fatal shooting 03:17

Dashboard video shows Slager making a routine traffic stop. Cellphone video shows the officer shooting the fleeing motorist in the back. What remains a mystery is what happened during the minutes in between that led the polite officer to become a killer.

The dash cam footage released by state police on Thursday showed Slager pulling over Scott for a broken brake light last weekend.

Saturday's traffic stop opens like so many others as Scott was stopped in a used Mercedes-Benz he had purchased days earlier, footage from the patrol car showed. At the outset, it's a strikingly benign encounter: The officer is seen walking toward the driver's window, requesting Scott's license and registration. Slager then returns to his cruiser. On the dash cam video, Slager never touches his gun during the stop. He also makes no unreasonable demands or threats.

Analyzing the video: What went wrong in fatal S.C. shooting? 02:43

The video also shows Scott beginning to get out of the car, his right hand raised above his head. He then quickly gets back into the car and closes the door. After Slager goes back to his patrol car, minutes later, Scott jumps from his car and runs. Slager chases him.

What's missing is what happens from the time the two men run out of the frame of dashboard video to the time picked up in a bystander's cellphone video a few hundred yards away. The cellphone footage starts with Scott getting to his feet and running away, then Slager firing eight shots at the man's back.

"It is possible for something to happen in that gap to significantly raise the officer's perception of risk," Seth Stoughton, a former police officer and criminal law professor at the University of South Carolina

Scott was almost $7,500 behind in child support and had been in jail three times over the issue, but no bench warrants had been issued directing officers to bring him in. His family has said that he might have run because he was behind on payments again and didn't want to go back to jail. He last paid child support in 2012, court records show.

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