Crime scene investigators testify in Michael Slager trial; jury sees graphic photos from scene

Published: Nov. 8, 2016 at 11:48 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 8, 2016 at 11:57 PM EST
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Slager in court Monday. (Source: AP/Pool)
Slager in court Monday. (Source: AP/Pool)
Habersham testifies in court Monday. (Source: AP/Pool)
Habersham testifies in court Monday. (Source: AP/Pool)

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The jury who will decide the fate of the former North Charleston police officer who fatally shot a driver who fled a traffic stop was shown graphic pictures from the scene as testimony continued Tuesday.

Michael Slager is on trial for the April 4, 2015, shooting of Walter Scott.

The crime scene photos shown during testimony included images of the scene and of Scott.

Some of the images were so graphic that Scott's family left the courtroom. Scott's mother and brother said they didn't want to see the pictures, because that's not how they want to remember.

Several crime scene investigators from the North Charleston Police Department and the State Law Enforcement Division testified, describing the position of Scott's body and the evidence collected at the scene, including a Taser cartridge and Taser wire.

Former SLED agent Almon Brown said he was concerned about the location of the wounds on Scott's body, that they appeared to be on the back and right side.

MOBILE USERS: Click here for the live blog of the trial.

The judge in the Michael Slager trial warned jurors Tuesday morning that dozing during the trial could get them removed from the jury.

The warning came shortly before prosecutors began interviewing a crime scene investigator over photographic evidence from the scene of the shooting of Walter Scott, the driver who fled a traffic stop initiated by Slager, a former North Charleston police officer.

Slager's defense team objected to some of the photos being shown. The man who was the police department's CSI supervisor at the time of the shooting took the stand and described how the scene was processed.

Scott Wyant testified that when he got to the scene Walter Scott's body was lying face down. He says a tent was out over Scott's body because it was drizzling at the time.

Wyant testified he took photos of Slager and his uniform and injuries to his finger and knees. Wyant said he noticed what he called  suspicious spots that appeared to be blood stains.

Training practices of the North Charleston Police Department has been taking center stage at the trial.

Slager's former boss, North Charleston Police Chief Eddie Driggers, is expected to take the stand Tuesday as the state trial against Slager continues. Slager faces a murder charge in the April 4, 2015, shooting of Walter Scott who fled a traffic stop.

Slager's defense team said they have "no idea" at this point how soon they may have the chance to call their witnesses to the stand.

Court is expected to end early around 4 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. to allow voters to get to the polls.

On Monday, officers who responded to the scene after Scott was shot testified.

Several of the officers said Slager looked like he was in a fight, based on his disheveled uniform, scrapes and cuts. Slager told them Scott grabbed his Taser, stood up and pointed it at him after a struggle in an empty lot in North Charleston.

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, but he started providing aid to Scott when he got on scene.

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.

Sgt. James Gann, who taught Slager in a class on using Tasers, described the former officer as a proficient student. When asked by the prosecution, Gann said Slager was not trained to shoot someone in the back as they were running away.

When the defense asked whether there was any way to know if Scott was armed or not, Gann said no.

Investigators say the incident unfolded around 9:30 a.m. on April 4, 2015, when Patrolman First Class Michael Slager, then 33 years old, conducted a traffic stop for a broken tail light.

Dash camera video from Slager's patrol vehicle shows Slager pull 50-year-old Walter Scott over at Advance Auto Parts on Remount Road.

Slager is then seen walking up to Scott's car, asking him for his driver's license and registration, and tells him that he was pulled over because a brake light is out.

After receiving Scott's license, Slager goes back to his patrol car.

About 30 seconds later, Scott gets out of his car, and Slager can be heard saying, "Have a seat in the car!" Scott then sits back inside his vehicle.

Twenty seconds later, Scott is seen running from the vehicle. Slager then can be heard communicating with emergency dispatch officials of the pursuit.

An NCPD sergeant who was conducting a traffic proceeded to Slager's location. At this point, another officer reported that Slager had requested another unit to "step up his response" to his location.

The sergeant said he then heard Slager advise dispatch officials the direction of travel and a description of the suspect as a "black male wearing a blue hat and blue jeans."

While en route, the sergeant reported he heard Slager say he deployed his Taser and was requesting for back-up units, and seconds later said "shots fired and the subject is down, he took my Taser."

According to a police report, Scott was pronounced dead by EMS a short time later.

Claiming he feared for his life, Slager told investigators he shot Scott after he took his Taser and attempted to use it against him.

A man later identified as Feidin Santana came forward with video of the fatal shooting that some say contradicted Slager's account of the shooting.

The video, which brought worldwide attention to the incident, showed Scott being shot five times as he ran away from Slager.

Slager was arrested on April 7, 2015 and charged with murder.

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