First of two hearings will take up motions for civil rights case in Walter Scott shooting

April 21, 2017

With more than two weeks until former North Charleston policeman Michael Slager’s civil rights trial, attorneys will discuss unresolved motions during a hearing Friday in Charleston.

Slager, 35, is charged with violating rights under the color of law and lying to investigators in the April 4, 2015, shooting death of Walter Scott, a black man, after a traffic stop.

A murder trial last year in state court ended in a hung jury.

Friday’s 9 a.m. proceeding in U.S. District Court will be a chance for defense lawyers and prosecutors to argue about several defense proposals for the federal trial, including:

Limits on references to Slager’s mental state at the time of the shooting.Constraints on using the term “homicide.“Prohibiting discussion of Scott’s and his family’s suffering.Restrictions on mentioning allegations that Slager tried to “plant” his Taser near Scott’s body after the shooting and didn’t do CPR on Scott.

Another hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Monday, when the attorneys will debate what expert testimony should be allowed at the trial.

Charleston lawyer Andy Savage heads Slager’s defense team, while Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Klumb leads the prosecution. Judge David Nortion is presiding over the case.

Slager pulled over Scott’s car for a broken brake light, and the 50-year-old motorist ran. They fought, and the patrolman said Scott grabbed his Taser, prompting his gunfire.

But an eyewitness video showed Scott turning and running away as Slager pulled out his pistol and fired eight times. Five of the shots hit Scott from behind.

Slager would face up to life in prison if he’s convicted of the civil rights count.

Jury selection is slated to start May 9 in Columbia before testimony May 15 in Charleston.