Officer's lawyers want to limit what prosecutors say to jury
Posted March 16
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Attorneys are seeking to limit what prosecutors can tell jurors in the federal civil rights trial of a white ex-South Carolina police officer accused of fatally shooting a fleeing, unarmed black motorist.
The legal team representing Michael Slager filed a slew of motions Wednesday seeking to limit what topics prosecutors can broach, including their ability to bring up any anguish suffered by the family of Walter Scott.
Slager, a former North Charleston police officer, fired at Scott eight times, killing the 50-year-old unarmed motorist as he ran from him following a traffic stop in April 2015.
Slager's lawyers also want to limit any references to Slager's mental state and curtail any reference to "prejudicial terms," like calling Scott the "victim" or Slager the "defendant."
Attorneys for Slager, 35, and the government are scheduled to be in court Friday to hash out issues ahead of his federal trial in May. Slager is accused of violating Scott's civil rights when he shot him to death.
Slager's attorneys also want to throw out key evidence, including the former officer's statements to investigators and a bystander's video of the killing that was shown around the world. Defense attorneys say the video doesn't tell the entire story, including how Scott took Slager's Taser and tried to shock him with it, making the officer fear for his life before Scott tried to run away.
Slager is also charged with murder in state court. His first trial there ended in a hung jury. That case has been rescheduled for August.
Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP . Read more of her work at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/meg-kinnard/