Charleston, SC (WLTX) - Nearly one month after the start of the trial, Michael Slager, the former South Carolina police officer charged with murder, testified in his own defense Tuesday.
His testimony is crucial as he has claimed to have acted out of self defense in the shooting death of 50-year-old Walter Scott on April 4, 2015.
Slager took the stand at 9:35 am for the defense and began by talking about the events that lead up to the shooting. Slager recalled Scott initially complying during the traffic stop, but when Scott ran from his car, that’s when the situation changed.
“What message did [Scott] send you that morning?” asks Andy Savage, defense attorney.
“On the traffic stop, it was normal,” says Slager. “After the traffic stop the message was that he would do anything to get away.”
Slager said that he called “taser, taser, taser” to Scott before he shot the first cartridge.
Once he was able to make it to Scott, that’s when Slager says they were involved in a struggle over the taser.
At that point Slager says he feared for his life. When Scott got up to run away Slagers says “I fired until the threat was stopped, like I’m trained to do.”
While Slager did get emotional during his initial testimony, including when he explained that he missed the birth of his son because he was in jail, the prosecution wasn’t impressed.
Deputy solicitor Bruce DuRant pointed out the fact that Slager did not let investigators know there was a struggle with Scott.
DuRant also pointed out gaps in Slager’s testimony, saying that he was only remembering things that benefited his testimony.
The prosecution has argued throughout this trial that Slager acted out of malice.
Now that the defense has rested their case, closing arguments are to follow, and then the fate of Michael Slager will be up to a jury.