Police Shootings

Jury of his peers

One black juror and 11 whites will decide the fate of the cop who killed Walter Scott

One black juror and 11 whites will decide the fate of the cop who killed Walter Scott

An almost entirely white jury will determine the fate of the former police officer who fatally shot Walter Scott, a 50-year-old unarmed black man, as he fled from a traffic stop in North Charleston, South Carolina, in April last year.

Six white men, five white women, and one black man were seated on Wednesday after two days of deliberation. They will hear the case against Michael Slager, a five-year veteran of the force, who is white. He’s facing murder charges.

Defense attorney Andy Savage struck nine people from the potential juror pool, including five blacks and two Hispanics, the Post and Courier reported. 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson, the prosecutor, dismissed three white people.

A coalition of civil rights organizations, including the South Carolina chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the American Civil Liberties Union, released a statement about the jury selection:

“While the jury composition of 11 white and one black jurors is disturbingly unrepresentative of the Charleston County population, we hope and expect the criminal proceedings to be fair and transparent in its pursuit of truth and justice, and help the public understand how a routine traffic stop turned fatal.”

Scott’s death and the aftermath was captured on cellphone video by a bystander. After a scuffle between Scott and Slager, during which Slager allegedly tried to use his Taser, Scott flees. Slager shoots him eight times in the back. Scott falls to the ground. Slager radios for backup, shouts “Put your hands behind your back,” and cuffs Scott.

The video shows Slager returning to the site of the scuffle, picking up an object from the ground, and then walking back to Scott’s body and dropping it behind him. Some have speculated that Slager may have planted the Taser to shore up his line of defense, which was that Scott tried to grab his stun gun and that he feared for his life.

The cellphone video in this case has inspired others across the country to record video of police encounters with citizens.

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