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Prosecution Closes Its Case Against Slager As Trial Approaches The Holidays
11/22/2016 4:33:26 PM

Michael Slager
By Barney Blakeney

After some 30 witnesses testified as the prosecution presented its case in the murder trial of North Charleston policeman Michael Slager accused in the 2015 killing of Walter Scott who had been stopped for a minor traffic violation, the defense led by attorney Andy Savage began its response to allegations Slager unjustifiably slaughtered the unarmed black man.

During the first three weeks of the trial of the white police officer charged with slaying the unarmed Scott as Scott fled after a physical between the two the prosecution argued that Slager fired eight times at the fleeing Scott – striking Scott five times, then lied to cover up either mistakes in judgment or racist attitudes that prompted the shooting of his unarmed victim.

In the first week of the trial the jury selection that produced 11 white jurors and one black juror was a catalyst for speculation that a white police officer in the Deep South would not be convicted of killing a black man despite video showing Scott being shot as he fled.

Charleston NAACP President Dot Scott said last week, “We don’t question the legality of the jury seating … but history tells us what’s legal is not always right. We can’t ignore the glaring and outrageous fact that those who killed Emmett Till, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwermer, James Chaney, Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin were acquitted by either all white juries or grand juries.”

After the trial resumed Monday to begin a fourth week in session, she said, “I’m not optimistic that the community will be pleased with the outcome. Based on what we know about these types of killings, I hope with a tape that shows undisputed evidence (of Slager shooting Scott in the back as he ran away) this won’t be another Rodney King.” She referred to the 1991 taped police beating of King who was stopped after leading offices on a high speed chase.

Scott said Slager’s trial is unprecedented. “But for the video of the incident, we’d never be at this place. Other similar incidents never even got to a trial. This kind of abuse has been ongoing for some time. We need to believe we will get a just verdict,” Scott said.

National Action Network South Carolina State coordinator, Elder James Johnson has been in the courtroom daily during the trial. After viewing the prosecution’s case he said Friday, “If I had to make a guess right now, I feel the jury will convict Slager. The prosecution did a good job bringing out the facts in the case, but the video convicts Slager. It’s hard to read a jury. And a jury that’s made up like this usually would come back a hung jury. I don’t think there’s a consensus Slager will be acquitted,” Johnson speculated. “But my personal feelings and the jury’s decision are two different things. At the end of the day, we won’t know until the jury returns with a verdict.”

That may not happen for several more weeks as the trial is slated to adjourn Wednesday for the Thanksgiving holidays. Next week the defense is expected to resume its presentation. Afterwards, both sides will hold closing arguments.

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