Defense lawyers in South Carolina are prepared to offer controversial, new evidence in the deadly police officer shooting of a reportedly unarmed black man.
Cell phone video from April shows now former officer Michael Slager shooting Walter Scott during a traffic stop in North Charleston, but Slager’s attorney says new evidence shows there is more to the confrontation, reports CBS News correspondent Jeff Pegues.
The 33-year-old’s defense team now says it will present evidence at Slager’s bond hearing Thursday that includes never-before-seen stills from the cell phone video that are said to show Scott on top of Slager.
“You need to go back to the incident scene and you need to see where the original stop was and you need to see where the final events took place,” Slager’s attorney, Andy Savage, said.
Savage suggested he may not have been completely unarmed the entire time. “Maybe he was found without any weapon on him at the time that he died,” Savage said.
Slager’s defense team believes his Taser was fired six times and that both the officer and Scott were each hit twice, suggesting there was more of a struggle than prosecutors have revealed.
In addition, the former officer’s attorneys allege that Scott’s DNA was on the Taser and that there was blood on Slager’s clothing and abrasions on his knee, and that he had an injured finger.
Savage said the new information should cast doubt on prosecutor’s version of events.
“Time will tell and I think that you will be able to judge his actions not by just what he said but what the independent evidence is,” Savage said.
Savage’s defense team believes the new evidence could lead to the North Charleston officer’s pre-trial release from jail, and Savage said he may use the evidence during trial to seek a lesser charge.
On April 4, Slager shot Scott eight times in the back as the 5o-year-old was running away.
Slager initially said he feared for his life. But when the video surfaced, Slager was arrested, fired and later indicted for murder.
The former North Charleston police officer has almost daily video conferences with his attorneys, before returning to solitary confinement in the county detention center.
An attorney for Scott’s family told CBS News they will respond once they see the new evidence.
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