The Latest: Judge: Prosecution may present final witness

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Posted: Nov 15, 2016 4:59 PM
The Latest: Judge: Prosecution may present final witness

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on the trial of a former South Carolina police officer charged with murder in the shooting death of an unarmed black motorist (all times local):

4:50 p.m.

The judge in the murder trial of a former South Carolina patrolman charged in the shooting death of a black motorist has ruled that the prosecution may present its final witness.

The prosecution wants crime scene investigator Bill Williams of Georgetown to take the stand. He has created an animation of the shooting of Walter Scott by Michael Slager using cellphone video, dashcam video and police radio calls. Slager, who is white, is charged in the April 2015 shooting death of Scott as he fled a traffic stop.

Williams is largely self-taught and the defense argued he lacked the formal training to be allowed to testify as an expert. The jury was out of the courtroom for more than four hours Tuesday as attorneys argued and Williams showed the judge his presentation.

Finally, Circuit Judge Clifton Newman ruled the witness has expertise in both crime scene recreation and forensic video. Court has adjourned and the jury will see the animation on Wednesday.

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2:50 p.m.

Attorneys at the trial of a former South Carolina patrolman charged with murder in the death of a black motorist are sparring over whether the prosecution's last witness should be allowed to testify.

Slager, who is white, is the former North Charleston patrolman charged in the shooting death of 50-year-old Walter Scott.

Cellphone video recorded by a bystander shows Scott being shot in the back from yards away as he fled after an April 2015 traffic stop. The defense contends the two men wrestled and Scott got hold of Slager's stun gun before the shooting.

With the jury out of the courtroom for more than two hours Tuesday, attorneys have been arguing over whether a crime scene investigator should be allowed to testify.

The investigator, Bill Williams of Georgetown, has created an animation of the shooting using cellphone video, dashcam video and police radio calls. The defense contends that Williams, who is largely self-taught, doesn't have the qualifications to testify as an expert.

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11 a.m.

The jury in the murder trial of a white former South Carolina patrolman who shot an unarmed black motorist is seeing a bystander's cellphone video of the shooting frame by frame.

Anthony Imel is undergoing cross-examination in the trial of Michael Slager, the former North Charleston patrolman charged with murder in the April 2015 shooting death of Walter Scott as Scott fled from a traffic stop.

Imel also testified Monday, and the prosecution made available photo enlargements from the video portraying key moments of the struggle between the two men. On Tuesday, defense attorney Andy Savage asked Imel why photos of other important moments were not produced.

Savage said he wants the jury to see the cellphone video frame-by-frame. Imel said the video he enhanced has 50,000 single frames.

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8:35 a.m.

An interfaith advocacy group is calling for a civil rights investigation of the North Charleston Police Department in South Carolina.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reports (http://bit.ly/2frMR1U) the Charleston Area Justice Ministry announced it had sent a letter to the Department of Justice asking for an investigation of the department's "patterns or practices" of racial discrimination.

Their announcement comes as former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager is on trial for murder in the shooting of Walter Scott, a black man who was shot and killed as he ran from a traffic stop.

Members of about 30 congregations also called for the city of Charleston to hire an external, independent, police auditing firm to audit the Charleston Police Department for "bias-based policing."

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4:30 a.m.

The prosecution is wrapping up its case in the murder trial of Michael Slager, the white former South Carolina patrolman charged in the shooting death of an unarmed black motorist.

Prosecutor Scarlett Wilson says the state plans to rest Tuesday.

The trial in Charleston is in its third week and prosecutors have called 30 witnesses to try to lay out a case that the shooting of 50-year-old Michael Scott as he ran from a traffic stop was murder.

The defense contends the two men wrestled and Scott got ahold of Slager's stun gun before the shooting.

Cellphone video of the shooting recorded by a bystander shows Scott being shot in the back from yards away as he fled the April 2015 traffic stop.