Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Michael Slager’s attorneys ask judge to toss out video of Walter Scott shooting

Defense calls video ‘unreliable’

Posted by Dustin Waters on Tue, Nov 1, 2016 at 1:28 PM

click to enlarge Michael T. Slager - COURTESY OF CHARLESTON COUNTY
  • Courtesy of Charleston County
  • Michael T. Slager
Attorneys for Michael Slager are asking that eyewitness video be excluded from the state trial for the former North Charleston officer charged with shooting Walter Scott.

The widely circulated video filmed April 4, 2015, shows the moments just prior to Scott’s death. Following a routine traffic stop for a malfunctioning brakelight, Scott fled his vehicle and was pursued by Slager into a nearby empty lot. Filmed by eyewitness Feidin Santana, the video shows Scott turning away from Slager following an altercation, during which Slager claims his Taser was wrestled away by Scott. Scott is then seen in the footage running away from Slager, who soon opened fire.

Claiming that the video is “unreliable, technically inadequate, limited in scope, and extremely unrepresentative of the events at issue,” Slager’s attorneys argue that the video should be excluded from consideration by the jury due to its prejudicial and inflammatory nature.

“It fails to clearly show the significant acts leading up to the fatal shooting, because it is out of focus for a substantial portion of the relevant events, and because it does not adequately reflect the positioning and distances between the actors,” states the defense’s motion filed Tuesday.

Slager’s attorneys also say that the video does not render that day’s events from the proper perspective — that of the eyewitness standing approximately 140 feet away — and stress that the jury must only consider the former officer’s viewpoint in evaluating his use of force.

If the court does rule that the video remain as evidence, the defense requests that the use of slow-motion replay be prohibited on the grounds that some scientific studies have shown the use of slow motion to be “inherently prejudicial” and “suggests that Slager’s intent is malicious of that he had the intent to kill.”

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