Updated Friday, March 17, 2017, 4:10 p.m. EDT: Well, it looks as if former North Charleston, S.C., cop Michael Slager and his defense team won’t get their way in trying to dust away a key piece of video evidence.
A judge ruled at a hearing Friday that cellphone footage of Slager shooting Walter Scott, a fleeing, unarmed black motorist, will be permitted as evidence at his upcoming federal trial.
As Reuters notes, Slager, 35, faces up to life in prison if found guilty of violating Scott’s civil rights in the April 2015 shooting. Slager fired eight times at Scott’s fleeing figure, hitting him five times as the motorist fled a traffic stop for a broken brake light.
Defense lawyers attempted to argue that jurors should not see the video because it was “blurry, misleading and an incomplete record of the event,” the newswire notes.
The video showing the struggle between Scott and Slager for control of Slager’s Taser was brief and shaky, defense insisted.
The scuffle was the focus of Slager’s defense team during his trial in state court on a murder charge last fall. Lawyers attempted to argue that the former officer feared for his life. That trial ended in a hung jury. A retrial is scheduled for August.
U.S. Attorney Jared Fishman argued Friday that the video was objective proof that Slager shot an unarmed person who was fleeing the scene.
“You don’t exclude evidence because it’s not complete,” Fishman said.
U.S. District Judge David Norton ruled that prosecutors could play the video and show it in slow motion at the trial.
This is the world we live in. One where Michael Slager, a white former South Carolina police officer, is seeking to have a judge toss out a key piece of evidence against him in the 2015 fatal shooting of Walter Scott, an unarmed black motorist. That important bit of evidence just happens to be a witness’s cellphone video of the shooting death that has been viewed millions of times.
According to the Associated Press, Slager will be pushing for the video to be tossed out in court Friday for a hearing ahead of his federal civil rights trial in relation to Scott’s death.
The newswire reports that prosecutors will likely try to stop defense lawyers from referencing police officers who die in the line of duty, or suggesting that jurors can send a message about the treatment of police through a not-guilty verdict.
Slager’s civil rights trial is scheduled for May. He still faces murder charges in state court, where his first trial ended with a hung jury.
Read more at ABC News.