Black driver shot by white officer: Potential jurors called
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CHARLESTON, S.C. — A South Carolina judge has ordered 500 potential jurors summoned for the murder trial of a fired white police officer charged in the 2015 shooting death of a black motorist captured on cellphone video.
Those being summoned can expect to hear a sheriff's deputy knocking on the door. Circuit Judge Clifton Newman issued an order Tuesday requiring deputies to serve summonses in the Michael Slager case. That's not unheard of, but generally jurors are summoned through the mail.
The order also instructs Charleston County deputies to follow up if prospective jurors don't fill out a juror questionnaire accompanying the summons. It said the summonses should start going out Friday.
The 34-year-old Slager, a former North Charleston police officer, stands trial next month in the death of 50-year-old Walter Scott, who was shot while running from traffic stop in April 2015. The shooting was recorded on a dramatic cellphone video that reignited the national debate over how blacks are treated by white police officers.
Newman said during an earlier hearing that jurors who are summoned will receive a general questionnaire about their thoughts on race relations and police conduct. That questionnaire must be returned within five days. He said jurors will fill out a more specific questionnaire asking what they know about the Walter Scott case when they report to the courthouse on Oct. 31 for jury selection.
His order this week said there is a chance the jury will be sequestered and asks court officials to arrange hotel accommodations for jurors beginning Nov. 1.
Slager faces 30 years to life if convicted of murder.
He has also been charged in federal court with three federal counts, including depriving Scott of his civil rights. Conviction on all three could bring a life sentence plus 30 years and a $750,000 fine.
Information from: The Post and Courier, http://www.postandcourier.com