CHARLESTON, S.C. A SC prosecutor accused a white former police officer on Thursday of staging a crime scene where he had just shot dead an unarmed black motorist, by moving a Taser closer to the handcuffed dead body so he could claim the victim had taken the stun gun.Former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager, 34, is on trial for murder over the shooting death of Walter Scott, 50.
When a bystander's video emerged of SC policeman Michael Slager shooting an unarmed suspect five times in the back, he was quick to be charged with the killing, fired from his job, and be condemned by a healthy portion of the general public. Attorney Andy Savage, an attorney working for Michael Slager, speaks with Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson, right, on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, in Charleston County court, in Charleston, S.C. The. With that said, Wilson argued that Slager is on trial for murder because of what happened after Scott had freed himself from Slager.
It was indicated in court that the evidence requested by the defense included financial information belonging to Santana.
A former North Charleston police officer will face a almost all-white jury as his criminal trial begins Thursday. He faces 30 years to life in prison if convicted in the April 2015 shooting of Walter Scott. Pierre Fulton testified Thursday during the trial of the former North Charleston officer, who faces 30 years to life if convicted of murder. Slager shot Scott five times in the back as Scott fled from the 2015 traffic stop for a broken tail light.
Scott, 50, was shot eight times from a distance as he ran away after Slager failed to subdue him with a stun gun.
Also facing trial this week: A former University of Cincinnati police officer, Ray Tensing, who is accused of killing Sam DuBose, an unarmed black man, as the 43-year-old tried to drive away after being pulled over for failing to have a front license plate.
"Michael Slager had the duty of protecting Walter Scott and people like him even from themselves, even from their own foolishness, that is his responsibility", said Wilson. Opening statements are expected Thursday.
Slager's attorney Andy Savage, in a motion Tuesday called the video "prejudicial, inflammatory and factually deficient".
Opening statements in the trial were delivered on Thursday morning, and prosecutors argued that the shooting of Walter Scott was not justified.
A bystander pulled out a cellphone and recorded it, stunning the nation as the images spread on social media.
"Slager is presumed to be innocent", Savage said.
After jury selection is complete, the judge will hear motions filed in the case, including one to prevent the video of the shooting from being shown to the jurors and moving the trial out of Charleston County.
Slager fatally shot the 50-year-old Scott as he fled a traffic stop in North Charleston.
The racial makeup of the jury is raising eyebrows in another police shooting murder trial.
Figures released by the clerk of court in Charleston County show that of the pool of 75 qualified jurors from which the jury was selected, 16 are black, or just over 20 percent. Two white men, two black woman, one white woman and one Hispanic woman were selected as alternates.
Slager, unaware that a passerby was recording the confrontation on a cellphone, attempted to "stage" the scene to make it appear the shooting was in self-defense, Wilson said.