iStock/Thinkstock(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — Closing arguments are expected to begin Wednesday afternoon in the state trial of former police officer Michael Slager, who is accused of murdering an unarmed black man in South Carolina last year.
Slager, who is white, is accused of killing Walter Scott at a traffic stop on April 4, 2015, in North Charleston while Slager was an officer with the city’s police department.
Witness video that surfaced shortly after the deadly encounter appears to show the moment Slager fatally shot Scott as he ran away. The video garnered national attention, propelling Slager into the spotlight.
Slager has pleaded not guilty to murder. His attorneys have said the witness video doesn’t show the whole struggle between Slager and Scott, and does not give the perspective of events from Slager’s point of view.
In this state trial, the jury can now also consider a voluntary manslaughter charge, officials told ABC News Wednesday. The voluntary manslaughter charge was requested by the prosecution and the judge allowed it based on testimony he heard during the trial.
“The court must let the jury decide if the force used was reasonable,” Judge Clifton Newman said Wednesday. “That’s the essence of the case.”
On Monday, Slager testified in his own defense, saying that Scott was a threat and that he kept shooting him until the threat was over.
Ahead of closing arguments, jurors spent the morning at the scene of the shooting.
Closing arguments are expected to begin at 1 p.m.
Slager also faces a federal trial, which is scheduled for next year.
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