Ex-officer’s lawyer challenges probe of black motorist death


CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A fired white police officer’s defense lawyer hammered away Wednesday at the investigation of his fatal shooting of a fleeing black motorist, pointing out that citizens using a toy metal detector found evidence the state missed at the crime scene.

Crime scene investigator Jamie Johnson testified that about two weeks after the shooting in April 2015, she returned to the scene because experts hired by defense attorney Andy Savage alerted investigators that two more bullets had been recovered.

“Did you know the two projectiles were found by citizens?” Savage asked on cross-examination.

“That’s the first I’m hearing it,” Johnson replied.

He then asked if she knew what kind of metal detector was used to find the bullets, near a fence around the empty lot where Walter Scott was fatally shot trying to flee from North Charleston police officer Michael Slager.

“Did you know it was a Fisher-Price toy?” the attorney asked. “No,” Johnson responded.

One detail not introduced yet before the jurors is whether or not these two additional bullets were fired from Slager’s service weapon.

Slager faces 30 years to life if convicted of murdering Scott, who was unarmed as he tried to run from his car in North Charleston. A bystander’s cellphone recording of Scott’s death has been viewed millions of times.

The defense contends that Scott was shot after he wrestled with Slager and got control of the stun gun. But the dramatic video shows Scott running away without the spent stun gun until Slager fires eight times at his back, felling him to the ground at a distance of dozens of feet.

On cross-examination, Johnson also testified that the Taser was never checked for fingerprints. She also said it was swabbed for DNA, but her colleague Almon Brown, another state investigator, testified that the genetic sample wasn’t tested either.

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