Lawyers Spar in S.C. Police Shooting Trial

Former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager sits at the defense table during testimony. Grace Beahm / Post and Courier via AP, Pool, File

The trial of the White former police officer accused in the death of an unarmed Black motorist in North Charleson, S.C. continued Thursday with more testimonies from the State Law Enforcement Division and Scott’s relatives.

Michael Slager’s lawyers picked up where they left off Tuesday – prior to adjourning for Election Day.

His attorney, Andy Savage, proceeded to question SLED agent Almon Brown about his findings at the crime scene. On the day of the shooting, Brown was the first SLED representative to arrive at the auto parts store where Scott was gunned down.

Brown was probed by Savage about whether or not state investigators searched Slager’s vehicle, and if fingerprints were recorded on the Taser that Slager claims was taken from him by Scott. Brown maintained that the state investigators were following protocol based on their training and that there was no “nefarious intent” not to further inspect the aforementioned items.

In addition to Brown taking the stand, Samuel Stewart, a SLED forensic scientist who inspected the DNA findings was also cross-examined as was Lt. Tracy Thrower, a SLED ballistics expert.

Stewart told prosecutors that swabs of DNA were taken from both Scott and Slager, and according to lab results, the red stain from the officer’s shirt is a mixture of at least two individuals. However, the major contributor matches Slager and the minor contributor could not be determined. DNA results from Scott’s fingernails did not contain any traces of Slager’s profile. The defense fired back, questioning Stewart why investigators did not collect DNA samples from multiple parts of the firearm Slager used.

Stewart also told the defense that traces of both Scott and Slager’s DNA were found on the officer’s Taser. Testing did not determine which man’s DNA was more evident on the weapon. “Both may have contributed equally to the DNA on the Taser,” Stewart testified.

Scott’s older brother Anthony also took the stand Thursday, telling jurors he advised his brother to reassess purchasing a 1990 Mercedes Benz in fear of racial profiling by officers. “That’s a Mercedes-Benz. You live in North Charleston. You know that’s a highly profiled area,” Anthony Scott recalled telling his brother.

The defense did not question Anthony. However, they consoled him for his loss. More than 25 witnesses have been called to the stand in the case thus far. A ruling may be reached as early as next week. If convicted, Slager will face 30 years to life in prison.

Image: Former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager sits at the defense table during testimony.  Grace Beahm / Post and Courier via AP, Pool, File