The murder trial for white ex-police officer, Michael Slager is finally set to begin. Slager fatally shot unarmed black man, Walter Scott, 18 months ago in North Charleston, South Carolina.
Defendant Michael Slager pulled over the 50-year-old father of four in North Charleston for a broken taillight on April 4 2015. Claiming to have felt threatened by Scott, who he alleges reached for his Taser, Slager shot the victim as he ran away.
As seen by a bystander’s grainy video, Slager fired eight bullets at the defendant as he tried to run away. Of those eight bullets, a total of five actually hit Scott. The video was one that would shock the nation, becoming infamous in the current national conversation of police brutality towards African-Americans.
Michael Slager could face life imprisonment
Michael Slager was fired from his job at the police department three days after the incident and arrested for the murder of Walter Scott. If convicted, the ex-police officer will face up to life in prison. He will stand before a jury on federal charges including obstruction of justice and a civil rights violation.
Reports suggest that Michael Slager’s defence lawyers are eager to move the trial to another county, where they say a "toxic stew of half-truths, misperceptions and false narratives" bias within Charleston can be eliminated during the trial process. However, at the time of reporting, the trial is set to stay put at a county courthouse in a neighboring city of Charleston.
According to Charleston Police Chief, Greg Mullen, "This is going to be a very delicate and important time for the city," he said. "There's going be a lot of emotion and a lot of activity around the courthouses."
The shooting added to the debate surrounding the police brutality and force against African-Americans, amidst protests and the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Out of 990 fatal shootings caused by policemen in 2015, only 10 (including Michael Slager) were charged with a crime, according to Huffington Post.