Attorneys for Michael Slager request evidence of bargaining between prosecution and eyewitness

Defense searches for witness bias against Slager

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Feidin Santana, who filmed the video of Walter Scott's shooting, demonstrates the struggle he witnessed between Michael Slager and Scott during the state trial - GRACE BEAHM/POST & COURIER
  • Grace Beahm/Post & Courier
  • Feidin Santana, who filmed the video of Walter Scott's shooting, demonstrates the struggle he witnessed between Michael Slager and Scott during the state trial
After repeated attempts to have eyewitness video of Walter Scott’s death excluded from evidence, attorneys for Michael Slager have asked state prosecutors to disclose any promises made to their key witness in the case.

During the state trial of the former North Charleston officer charged with Scott’s death, Feidin Santana testified that he was walking to work when he spotted two men race into an empty lot. The 25-year-old originally from the Dominican Republic told jurors that he saw Scott attempt to flee from Slager following a brief struggle, at which point the eyewitness began filming with his cellphone. The widely circulated video depicts the moment that Scott began running from Slager as the officer opened fire, fatally wounding Scott. Slager’s first state trial last year ended with a hung jury.

In preparation for the upcoming retrial, Slager’s attorneys have requested any “promises of consideration” that could have been offered to Santana for his cooperation in the case. According to court documents filed Thursday, these include immigration assistance, criminal immunity, favorable treatment related to any criminal or legal dispute, payments or reimbursement of expenses, or any other accommodations that could reveal bias against Slager.

Lead defense attorney during the trial, Andy Savage, has previously called Santana’s behavior following the shooting into question, pointing to the witness’s decision to conduct nationally televised interviews, accept donations, and hire an agent. Santana has maintained that he feared for his life after witnessing the shooting, sending copies of the video to his wife and a friend for safekeeping. In the days following Scott’s death, Santana shared the video with the Scott family, saying his motivations for doing so stemmed from the faulty account of the shooting that Slager provided.

Slager’s retrial has been set for August, while the federal civil rights trial for the former officer is scheduled to commence in early May.


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