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Local Law Enforcement Prepared For Every Possible Outcome Of Slager Trial
11/30/2016 4:01:21 PM

Michael Slager

Dylann Roof
By Barney Blakeney

As the murder trial of Michael Slager in its fifth week winds to a close, the trial of confessed killer Dylann Roof who admitted to killing nine people at Emanuel AME Church in June 2015 began with jury selection Monday.

And as Roof’s jury selection follows a mandated mental competency evaluation and Roof’s declaring to defend himself, Slager’s defense strides toward a verdict some think will all but exonerate the ex-cop of the killing caught on video tape as he shot a fleeing Walter Scott in the back.

As an anxious community awaits the outcome of the Slager trial, one peninsula Charleston neighborhood association president said candidly last week local law enforcement agencies have prepared in the event of a violent response to an unfavorable verdict in the Slager trial.

Some views expressed through social media ask open-ended questions about a possible response.

Charleston police spokesman Charles Francis said this week law enforcement months ago held a press conference to assure the community every contingency has been considered. Local law enforcement agencies already have coordinated their efforts, he said.

Since the beginning of Slager’s trial Charleston police daily have issued a statement. In part it reads: “The City of Charleston’s Municipal Emergency Operation Center (MEOC) remained open during the Slager and Roof trials for the City of Charleston, Charleston County, state and federal partners to manage events surrounding the trials and ensure lines of communications between law enforcement agencies and the community.

“Law enforcement officials at the local, state, and federal levels are working collectively during this time of heightened awareness in the Charleston area. They are asking that anyone who sees or hears anything they feel is suspicious or concerning to dial 911 immediately and alert law enforcement. Security is everyone’s responsibility and we need all citizens to be alert and active participants, especially during this time.”

The outcome of either trial is uncertain. And while the violent responses experienced by communities such as Ferguson, Missouri after the police shooting death of Michael Brown and the police shooting death of Charleston native Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina are unanticipated in Charleston, National Action Network State Coordinator Elder James Johnson, who consistently since the murders at Emanuel has called for peaceful protests, admitted an acquittal in the Slager case could “cause an uproar”. But NAN Vice President for Religious Affairs and External Relations Rev. Nelson Rivers said given the history of protest in the Charleston community, no matter the outcome of the Slager trial he doesn’t anticipate much protest beyond bemoaning and complaining.

North Charleston Branch NAACP President Ed Bryant perhaps has offered the most poignant perspective on a response to an unfavorable result in the Slager trial. “Don’t start nothing, there won’t be nothing,” he said.

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