Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Jury Selection Begins for Officer in Death of Black Motorist

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Jury Selection Begins for Officer in Death of Black Motorist

Article excerpt

CHARLESTON, S.C. * A jury being chosen this week in Charleston will have to decide whether a white former police officer is guilty of murder in the shooting of an unarmed black motorist that shocked the nation after a bystander released cellphone video of the confrontation.

Former Officer Michael Slager's attorney contends there was more to the incident than what appeared on the widely seen video clip showing Walter Scott's shooting, including a fight between the pair and a tussle over the officer's Taser.

Coincidentally, the same week that a panel is being seated in the Slager case, jury selection begins for the trial of a former University of Cincinnati police officer who like Slager stands accused of murder in the shooting death of an unarmed black man.

Prospective jurors will be questioned Monday for Ray Tensing's trial on murder and voluntary manslaughter charges in the shooting of Sam DuBose in July 2015. Tensing pulled DuBose over for a missing front license plate.

The traffic stop ended in the fatal shooting of DuBose.

The shootings are among a series nationwide that have sparked debates over race and policing in cities including New York, Chicago, Ferguson, Baton Rouge, La., Tulsa, Okla., and Charlotte, N.C.

Chris Stewart, an attorney for the Scott family, sees the Slager case as a blueprint for others involving police and minorities.

"When an officer is prosecuted, will you get justice?" he asks. "The verdict is huge. It needs to serve as a lesson to officers that if you break the law, you don't just get away."

Slager, who turns 35 in November, faces 30 years to life in prison if convicted in the shooting that occurred after he pulled Scott over for a broken taillight. Family members have said Scott may have run because he was $18,000 behind on child support and worried he might have to go back to jail.

Attorney Andy Savage, who represents Slager, says the brief video clip that's been circulated widely on the internet does not show the entire incident. …

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