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Focus in Slager trial shifts to crime scene, police staffing on - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Focus in Slager trial shifts to crime scene, police staffing on day of shooting

Feidin Santana, the man who recorded cellphone video of the Walter Scott shooting, testified in court Friday. (Source: AP/Pool) Feidin Santana, the man who recorded cellphone video of the Walter Scott shooting, testified in court Friday. (Source: AP/Pool)
Michael Slager speaks to defense attorney Andy Savage in court on Monday. (Source: AP Pool/File) Michael Slager speaks to defense attorney Andy Savage in court on Monday. (Source: AP Pool/File)
Former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager sits in the courtroom, in Charleston on Oct. 28. (Source: AP Pool/File) Former North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager sits in the courtroom, in Charleston on Oct. 28. (Source: AP Pool/File)
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

Officers who responded to the scene of the fatal shooting of a driver who fled a traffic stop testified in the trial of the former North Charleston police officer charged in the incident Monday.

Former police officer Michael Slager is charged in Walter Scott's death on April 4, 2015.

MOBILE USERS: Click here for live blog of trial.

Lt. Daniel Bowman, one of the officers who testified Monday morning, was the watch commander on duty that morning. 

The shooting happened in Charleston Farms, an area police described as a high-crime neighborhood. Bowman told the jury Slager's version of the shooting. He said Slager told him Scott grabbed Slager's Taser during a struggle and pointed at him, forcing Slager to pull out his gun and shoot.

"Mike said, 'I think I shot him six times,'" Bowman testified. "He [Slager] indicated to me he rendered aid. He didn't say what that entailed and I didn't ask him."

Last week in her opening statement, solicitor Scarlett Wilson claimed Slager did not give aid to Scott and planted his Taser next to Scott's body to stage the scene.

Earlier Monday morning, Clarence Habersham, the first officer to reach the scene testified that no police backup was available for Slager on the morning of the shooting. 

Habersham says two other officers assigned to the district where Slager was patrolling were serving warrants at the time of the incident. He also agreed with the defense that people who are stopped tend to be more compliant if there is a second officer at the scene.

All of the officers testified that Slager told them that Walter Scott grabbed his taser and pointed it at him after a struggle. 

Jury views video of shooting, hears from witnesses during first week of trial

The trial adjourned for the weekend Friday afternoon following testimony from the man who shot video of the incident and the first officer to respond after shots were fired.

Clarence Habersham, the former North Charleston Police officer who responded to the scene immediately after the shooting took the stand late Friday afternoon and testified about giving first aid to Scott. Habersham said police are not trained to fire a warning shot but to stop a threat.

He says he found Scott handcuffed on the ground when he arrived at the scene. Habersham says he was the one that uncuffed Scott and administered CPR and first aid.  

Prosecutors also played radio transmissions of the officers communicating during the incident: "Shots fired, subject is down, he grabbed my Taser." Prosecutors argue that Slager dropped the Taser next to Scott's body.

Habersham also said he never saw Slager drop or pick up anything. 

Defense attorney Andy Savage says there should have been six patrolmen on duty the day of the incident but there weren’t. 

Earlier on Friday, the jury watched a cellphone video of the shooting and heard from Feidin Santana, the man who recorded it. Santana said he was about 60 yards away from Slager and Scott when a struggle took place and he started to record the incident on his cellphone. Santana said despite the defense claim that Slager shot Scott in self-defense after Scott grabbed Slager's Taser during a struggle, he never saw Scott coming towards Slager with a Taser. 

Santana said the men wrestled on the ground, and he could hear an electric sound that he later learned came from Slager's stun gun.

In a motion filed earlier in the week, Slager's attorneys requested the video not be shown to the jury, calling it "highly prejudicial, inflammatory, and factually deficient." Attorneys argued the video is of "poor quality" and "fails to clearly show the significant acts leading up to the fatal shooting, because it is out of focus for a substantial portion of the relevant events, and because it does not adequately reflect the positioning and distances between the actors." 

The motion also requested that if the judge allowed the video to be shown, that it not be displayed in slow motion because "recent peer-reviewed social scientific studies have shown that slow motion videos are inherently prejudicial."

Judge Clifton Newman denied both of those requests.

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

Copyright 2016 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.

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