Walter Scott death trial begins in South Carolina

File: Michael Slager (CBS)
File: Michael Slager (CBS)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Opening statements are getting started in the murder trial of a white former police officer charged in the shooting death of an unarmed black motorist.

The trial unfolds against a backdrop of violence by and toward police across the nation.

A panel of 11 white jurors and one black juror will hear the case Thursday in a Charleston courtroom.

Former officer Michael Slager faces 30 years to life if convicted of murder in the April 2015 shooting death of 50-year-old Walter Scott as he fled a traffic stop in North Charleston.

Cell phone video of the confrontation recorded by a bystander shows Scott running away, his back turned. The officer raises his gun and fires eight times before Scott falls to the ground.

Slager claims the video does not show the fight he allegedly had with Scott before the shooting.

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