Walter Scott Police-Involved Killing Trial Begins Today

By Kenrya Rankin Oct 31, 2016

Trial proceedings begin today (October 31) for Michael Slager, 34, the former North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer who killed Walter Scott during a traffic stop.

On April 4, 2015, Slager stopped Scott for a broken tail light. When Scott ran, Slager shot at the unarmed 50-year-old Black man’s back eight times, then planted his Taser on the victim, allegedly to support his claim that the man reached for the weapon. Bystander video captured the incident, and Slager was fired and indicted on murder charges, as well as three federal civil rights charges: civil rights offense, using a firearm during the commission of a civil rights offense and obstruction of justice. The Post and Courier notes that Slager could be sentenced to a maximum of 30 years to life for the murder charge. The federal charges carry a possible sentence of life in prison plus a $250,000 fine.

Per NBC News, today marks the first day of jury selection for Slager’s murder trial. The Associated Press reports that his attorney filed several motions ahead of the trial, including requests to take the jurors to the scene of the fatal shooting and to not refer to Scott as a “victim” or Slager, a White man, as the “defendant.” He also requested that the city’s $6.5 million civil settlement payment to Scott’s family not be mentioned.