Testimony enters 7th day as prosecution nears end of case in Walter Scott shooting
Testimony will resume at 9 a.m. Monday in the murder trial of Michael Slager, the former North Charleston policeman who shot Walter Scott.
Jurors will be returning for the seventh day of testimony after a three-day break. Prosecutors are likely to rest their case early on this abbreviated week; no proceedings are scheduled Friday.
Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson emerged once last week from the courtroom in downtown Charleston and said, “We’re getting there.”
But certain witnesses, including North Charleston Police Chief Eddie Driggers and the lead State Law Enforcement Division investigator, Angela Peterson, have yet to take the stand. With similar testimony already done, though, it’s uncertain if they will.
Slager, now 34, stopped Scott, 50, for a broken brake light on April 4, 2015. After answering inconsistently the officer’s questions and not producing paperwork for the 1990 Mercedes-Benz — it was in the glove compartment, testimony revealed last week — Scott got out and ran. Slager chased him.
The officer brought Scott down with a Taser, and he said they got into a fight when he tried to handcuff the suspect. At some point, he told authorities, Scott got control of his Taser. Slager told agents that Scott had been coming at him when he decided to fire but that Scott had turned away when he started pulling the trigger. Five of the eight bullets from the lawman’s gun hit Scott from behind, killing him in moments.
A bystander’s video of the shooting emerged publicly three days later. It showed a brief struggle on the ground, but Scott turns around and runs several yards away from Slager before the gunfire rang out.
Slager was arrested shortly after the footage surfaced publicly. He posted $500,000 bail in January and has remained free through the trial.
Already, 27 witnesses have testified for the state, but Slager’s lawyers have sought to pick apart the probe into the shooting, highlighting shortcomings such as failure to test certain evidence. Defense lawyer Andy Savage has said SLED’s handling of the case ignored key details that supported Slager’s self-defense account.
The jury of 12 primary members and six alternates left the courthouse Thursday after Lt. Charles Ghent, one of the SLED supervisors involved with the case, testified. Ghent and Peterson interviewed Slager before showing the video to the officer.
“We wanted an opportunity to see if he would tell the truth,” Ghent testified last week.
In Ghent’s eyes, he had said, Slager did not.