Michael Slager, the South Carolina officer accused of shooting an unarmed motorist in the back while fleeing, will start trial soon. His attorneys are trying to get a federal judge to toss key evidence out next week. This includes cellphone video a bystander took of the police shooting.
Slager’s attorneys are also working to get his statements thrown out. These are statements the cop made to detectives which seem to conflict with the evidence found at the scene of the fatal shooting. Walter Scott was shot a total of five times by Slager, with one bullet striking his buttocks, one hitting one of his ears, and three times in the back.
The police shooting occurred on April 4, 2015 at 9:30 AM. Slager had pulled Scott over in an auto parts store parking lot at 1945 Remount Road for a non-functioning third brake.
Prosecutors have filed motions of their own, asking to stop defense lawyers from mentioning police officers who die in the line of duty or suggesting jurors can send a message about the treatment of police through a not-guilty verdict.
Andy Savage, Slager’s attorney, says jurors should not see the video because it doesn’t show the entire encounter between the men, including how Scott took Slager’s Taser and tried to shock him with it, making the officer fear for his life before Scott tried to run away.
The white North Charleston police officer’s shooting of an unarmed black motorist brought fresh scrutiny to the treatment of black men by white officers across the nation.
Potential jurors from across the state are being summoned to Columbia for jury selection, a process schedule to begin May 9. The trial itself starts a week later in Charleston.
Slager’s first state trial on murder charges ended in a hung jury, but state prosecutors have promised a retrial.