State calls slew of witnesses in first day of Slager trial

Police Officer Fatal Shooting North Charleston

CHARLESTON, S.C.  — During day one in the Michael Slager trial the prosecution called eight witnesses. Witnesses included Walter Scott’s son and mother; Charlotte Jones, Scott’s girlfriend; Arthur Heyward, Scott’s neighbor;  and Pierre Fulton, the passenger in Scott’s car on the day of the shooting; Sgt Scott Hille, North Charleston Police Department; and a 911 dispatcher .

Many of the questions to early witnesses were about Walter Scott, his character, his past, and the events of the day he was shot.  Most of the witness testimony was a chance for the state to show the character of Walter Scott.

On the stand, Walter Scott’s mother, Judy, sounded on the verge of tears as she remembered the final moments on the phone with her son.  She was on the phone with Scott while he was being tased. Once she was off the stand, she lost her composure and began crying and speaking in what many evangelicals would call “tongues”.  The judge ended the trial for the day.

A key witness was Pierre Fulton, the passenger in Scott’s car on the day of the shooting.   The defense pressed him with questions about the condition of Scott’s phone; issues with getting food from a food bank that would be later used at a cook-out; and the professionalism of Michael Slager at the time of the traffic stop. Then the defense brought up his past criminal activity and his distrust of the North Charleston Police Department.  The cross-examination was tense at times. The several times Fulton didn’t answer questions but instead responded, “Oh wow!”.

During Sgt. Hille’s testimony, questions arose about Slager’s techniques and the dash camera video captured the day Walter Scott was killed. In cross-examination,  Savage asked Sgt. Hille if Slager followed a list of procedures, including giving verbal commands to a fleeing Scott.  Sgt Hille confirmed Slager had followed all procedures based on what he say in the video.