Former South Carolina officer wants his Taser examined

AP News
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Posted: Jan 26, 2017 1:57 PM

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A former South Carolina police officer on Wednesday requested an independent review of the Taser used the day he shot and killed an unarmed motorist, saying further examination could correct some testimony presented during his trial.

In papers filed in court and provided to The Associated Press, attorneys for Michael Slager asked state prosecutors to send his Taser to a forensic examiner in Tempe, Arizona. A new examination, the attorneys argued, could clarify trial testimony about Taser use they feel was "inaccurate."

A circuit judge declared a mistrial last year after jurors were unable to reach a verdict in Slager's state trial in the shooting death of Walter Scott. The panel, considering verdicts of murder or voluntary manslaughter, deliberated more than 22 hours over four days and heard testimony from 55 witnesses during the five-week trial.

Slager, who was subsequently fired from the North Charleston Police Department, is charged with shooting Scott to death as the black motorist tried to flee a traffic stop in April 2015, a shooting captured by a bystander on cellphone video. Prosecutors argued the five-year officer let his sense of authority get the better of him.

At trial, Slager, who is white, testified that he used his Taser on Scott, who then grabbed it and came at him. The former officer also said he was in "total fear" at the time he fired his gun.

Slager's murder retrial had been set to begin in March but is now scheduled for August. Ahead of that, Slager's attorneys wrote they didn't object to a prosecutor's representative being present for the examination of his Taser, saying the sole purpose of the new exam "is to further Mr. Slager's pursuit of the truth regarding the allegations promoted by the State."

Slager is also charged in federal court with violating Scott's civil rights. That trial is expected to begin this spring.

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Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP . Read more of her work at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/meg-kinnard/