The South Carolina police officer who was charged with murdering a black man had previously been praised for using “great officer safety tactics,” though he was also the subject of a complaint over excessive force, according to documents from the local police department.
Michael Slager, 33, a patrolman 1st class for the North Charleston Police Department, was arrested Tuesday for fatally shooting 50-year-old Walter Scott after Scott fled following a traffic stop. Slager was subsequently fired from his job.
Slager was “very enthused” about his work and supervisors said he “kept calm” when dealing with suspects, according to police documents from Slager’s early days on the job in 2010, obtained by TIME and initially reported by NBC News.
But Slager also received two complaints during his time with the police force, one in January 2015 for failing to file a police report and another in September 2013 when he allegedly used his Taser unnecessarily against a suspect, documents show. In the Taser incident, Slager was accused of pulling a man from his home, shooting him with a Taser and slamming him to the ground, though the man claimed he had agreed to come outside peacefully, documents show.
Slager was cleared in the Taser incident. The outcome of the complaint on failure to file a police report complaint was not immediately clear.
Slager passed all his exams with the police department, obtaining a perfect Taser certification score and completing an annual training that including subjects like ethics and “bias base profiling,” documents show.
Before applying to the police department, Slager worked as a waiter and later worked for the U.S. Coast Guard.
Slager was denied bond at a brief court appearance Tuesday evening and was being held at the Charleston County Jail, the New York Times reports. He has two stepchildren and is expecting another child in May, he said at the court appearance.
Slager was initially represented by attorney David Aylor, but Aylor withdrew from the case on Wednesday.
“This is a terrible tragedy that has impacted our community,” Aylor said in a statement.
Previously, Aylor had been quoted saying that Slager had “no disciplinary issues” with the police department.
There have been three other recent police-related shootings in South Carolina involving white officers and unarmed black suspects. On Feb. 9, 2014, in North Augusta, S.C., Ernest Satterwhite, a 68-year-old black man, was shot and killed during a traffic stop following a 9-mile slow-speed chase by Justin Craven, a 25-year-old white officer. On Tuesday, the same day Slager was indicted, Craven was charged with a felony for discharging his gun into an occupied vehicle.
On Sept. 4, 2014, in Columbia, S.C., Levar Jones, a 35-year-old black man, was shot multiple times by 31-year-old Sean Groubert, a white South Carolina state trooper, seconds after being stopped for a seatbelt violation. The incident was caught on Groubert’s dash cam. Jones, who was unarmed, survived. Groubert was fired and charged with assault and battery. His trial will likely start later this year.
Also, in March 2011, white Eutawville Police Chief Richard Combs shot and killed Bernard Bailey, who was black and unarmed, following an argument in the Town Hall parking lot. A judge declared a mistrial in January 2015.
As of March 2015, South Carolina police had been involved in 209 shooting incidents over the last five years. None have been convicted, according to The State.