New Evidence in Michael Slager Case

September 9, 2015 6:00 AM
In this undated photo provided by the North Charleston Police Department shows City Patrolman Michael Thomas Slager. Slager has been charged with murder in the shooting death of a black motorist after a traffic stop. North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey told a news conference that city Slager was arrested and charged Tuesday, April 7, 2015, after law enforcement officials saw a video of the shooting following a Saturday traffic stop. (AP Photo/North Charleston Police Department)

New evidence has been filed with the court in the case against former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager in the shooting death of Walter Scott.

The evidence was filed yesterday in preparation for a bond hearing for Slager to be held tomorrow.

Slager’s attorney, Andrew Savage of Charleston, provided Grand Strand Daily with a copy of the Mitigation Package for Bond Hearing filed with the court.

We all know what we saw on the video of Scott running away from Slager and Slager firing his weapon multiple times killing Scott.

What isn’t nearly as evident, nor covered in most media stories on the incident is what happened before the final scene.

A hospital report on Slager and Scott’s autopsy report show bruises on both men’s bodies consistent with violent confrontation.

Gunshot residue was found on both of Scott’s hands during the autopsy. Scott’s proximity to a weapon being discharged, or firing one himself, had to have occurred before the final minutes of the incident captured on the video.

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HCSWA Info to Council Faulty

September 6, 2015 5:30 AM
HCSWA Info to Council Faulty

Horry County Council received faulty information about the HCSWA dealings with Charleston County during its regular meeting last week.

I do not believe the intent was to provide false information. Rather, I believe it was the result of information being provided sparingly when it should have been discussed openly and shared from a much earlier date.

Several council members were very upset about being asked to quickly consider a budget amendment for the HCSWA budget after a contract was signed and Charleston County trash was already making its way to Horry County.

Council member Johnny Vaught asked when the first contact was made between Charleston County and the HCSWA board. Authority board chairman Lance Thompson said HCSWA staff was first contacted May 28, 2015.

Vaught asked when the HCSWA board became involved in the contract decision. Thompson said a couple weeks later the board was notified, then, at a board meeting the board voted to allow staff to negotiate.

Vaught said, “Essentially negotiations had not begun until you (HCSWA board) were contacted and you guys voted to go ahead.” Thompson agreed that was correct.

Council member Gary Loftus stated he understood Sonoco, the company that was running the Charleston County material recycling facility, had given notice in December 2014 that it was considering terminating its contract with Charleston County.

A representative from Sonoco said the company informed Charleston County that it was unable to operate the Charleston County MRF economically and notified the county it would cease operations July 31, 2015 under the termination clause. In addition, Sonoco took the decision because of the limited progress made toward Charleston County’s commitment to build a new, more efficient MRF.

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The Tough Fight of Curtis Loftis

September 4, 2015 5:00 AM
Curtis M. Loftis Jr., South Carolina’s treasurer, has pushed to learn more about private equity fees. Credit Dale W. Ferrell for The New York Times

Despite continuing efforts to embarrass and silence him, SC Treasurer Curtis Loftis continues to criticize the SCRSIC for poor performance.

Loftis was subjected to allegations in 2011 that he and Mallory Factor were partners in what was called a “pay to play” scheme involving state retirement funds.

Despite the best efforts of members of the SC Retirement System Investment Commission, Gov. Nikki Haley, then state senator Greg Ryberg and others, Loftis was cleared of all allegations by SLED and the SC Attorney General’s office.

Currently, he is facing an Ethics Commission hearing alleging Loftis used his influence as a state constitutional officer to include a business associate and friend as a lawyer in a lawsuit against the Bank of New York Mellon.

I predict these allegations will be found just as baseless.

The good ole boys and their confederates just can’t stand a politician who looks out for the public good first.

And Loftis is not criticizing without reason. The SC retirement system is consistently among the bottom few performers of public pension funds in the nation despite paying hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in fees and giving the underperforming staffers at the SCRSIC generous annual bonuses with more taxpayer dollars.

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Cam Crawford Newest Horry County Council Member

August 5, 2015 5:28 AM
Cam Crawford Newest Horry County Council Member

Cam Crawford swept through the special general election for Horry County Council District 6 Tuesday.

Crawford, who was unopposed on the ballot, gathered 240 of the 250 votes cast.

Rumors of a write-in campaign to challenge Crawford did not pan out as only eight write-in votes were cast.

Crawford can now be sworn into office in time to attend the next scheduled Horry County Council meeting on August 18, 2015.

This election brings council back to full strength, at least for the time being.

In other local election news, Republican runoff candidates Russell Fry and Tyler Servant are scheduled to face off in a debate Thursday August 6, 2015.

Fry and Servant will be opposing each other in a special Republican primary runoff election net Tuesday, August 11, 2015, to see who will be the Republican nominee in the SC House District 106 special general election scheduled for September 15, 2015.

Fry led the first round of primary voting last week with 1,152 votes to 851 votes for Servant who finished second. The winner of the runoff election will be the only name on the special general election ballot as there are no Democratic candidates in the race.

The South Strand Republican Club will be hosting tomorrow’s debate. It will be held at the Horry County Recreation Center in the South Strand government complex on Scipio Lane.

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HCSWA Taking Charleston Recyclables

August 1, 2015 5:01 AM
HCSWA Taking Charleston Recyclables

The HCSWA board voted unanimously to begin taking recyclable materials from Charleston County next week.
This approval is contingent on Charleston County agreeing to the terms of a Recyclables Processing Intergovernmental Agreement approved unanimously by the HCSWA board.

Charleston County had been sent a copy of the revised agreement four hours before the HCSWA board meeting with no comment in the interim. Sentiment among HCSWA staff members was that Charleston County would agree to the terms and recyclables from Charleston County would begin to be processed at the HCSWA material recycling facility (MRF) next week.

There were some changes from the first draft proposal the HCSWA board voted to move forward with last week.

Key changes include a two year contract with up to three additional six month terms upon the agreement of both parties.

Charleston County must guarantee Horry County a minimum of 2,500 tons per month with a maximum limit of 3,000 tons per month.

A base market value (BMV) for sales of the recyclables is set at $150 per ton. There is a 10% leeway on the BMV in each direction. If the revenue from sale of the recyclables falls to below $135 per ton, Charleston County will make up the difference to the Horry County minimum guarantee of $135 per ton. The HCSWA currently is selling recyclables processed at the MRF for $134 per month.

Horry County will share profits from the sale of the recyclables with Charleston County above a market value of $165 per ton.

A 60 day termination clause upon notice of either party is now being offered. However, the way in which it was arrived at is problematic.

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Special Election Voting on the South End

July 27, 2015 6:09 AM
Special Election Voting on the South End

Voters on the south end of Horry County will have special elections at least the next two and probably three Tuesdays.

Beginning tomorrow, voters in House District 106 will get their first crack at selecting a Republican nominee to replace Rep. Nelson Hardwick who resigned in the spring.

Russell Fry, Sam Graves, Dr. Roy Sprinkle and recently elected Horry County Council member for District 5 Tyler Servant will vie for the Republican nomination.

There are no Democrats or third party candidates in the race.

If no candidate receives 50 percent plus one vote from the voters who show up to the polls, a runoff election among the top two vote getters in the House District 106 race will be held Tuesday August 11th.

In between those two dates, the special general election for Horry County Council District 6 will be held Tuesday August 4th.

Republican nominee Cam Crawford will be the only name on the ballot, but we are hearing rumblings of a possible write-in vote campaign in a stop Crawford effort.

Write-in campaigns are difficult in the best of times, but voters who support Crawford should get out to the polls next week.

Voter turnout has been exceptionally low in the special primary summer elections. The District 6 primary saw 7% of eligible voters go to the polls.

Only a few hundred votes are needed to be elected in any of these races.

If you are a supporter of any of the candidates, be sure you make it to the polls. It is this type of low turnout special election where one vote can make a difference.

Our pick for tomorrow?

Fry and Servant will face off in a primary election runoff in two weeks.

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