CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A jury is expected to be seated Wednesday in the trial of a former South Carolina policeman charged with murder in the shooting death last year of an unarmed black motorist.
Opening arguments in Michael Slager’s case could come later in the day, after Circuit Judge Clifton Newman takes up outstanding motions.
Slager, who is white, faces 30 years to life if convicted in the April 2015 shooting death of 50-year-old Walter Scott, who was killed as he fled a traffic stop after being pulled over for a broken taillight.
The shooting was captured by a bystander on dramatic cellphone video. It shows Scott being shot eight times in the back.
The defense filed a motion Tuesday asking the judge to block the video from being introduced as evidence.
Slager’s attorney Andy Savage called the video “prejudicial, inflammatory and factually deficient.” He said bystander Feidin Santana took it from 137 feet away and not from the officer’s perspective. The clip is also “obscured or blurry and thus confusing,” the motion said.
The video does not show the entire fight that took place between Slager and Scott, and if it is allowed, it should not be shown in slow motion because that implies that Slager had malicious intent toward Scott, the motion said.
Savage also asked the judge to order information released about Santana, including how much he made from selling the video.
Santana’s attorney, State Rep. Todd Rutherford, argued the information was protected by attorney-client privilege. But he said he would make it available for the judge to review before deciding whether it could be released to the defense.