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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Lawyers for a former South Carolina police officer who fired repeatedly into the back of a fleeing motorist hope to persuade a federal judge next week to throw out key evidence, including a bystander's cellphone video of the killing.
Michael Slager's attorneys also want a federal judge to toss out statements he gave to investigators that appeared to conflict with evidence at the scene where Walter Scott was fatally shot.
A notice filed Friday in the federal court where Slager will be tried on charges including violating Scott's civil rights says a pre-trial hearing is scheduled on March 17.
Prosecutors have filed motions of their own, asking to stop defense lawyers from mentioning police officers who die in the line of duty or suggesting jurors can send a message about the treatment of police through a not-guilty verdict.
Andy Savage, Slager's attorney, says jurors should not see the video because it doesn't show the entire encounter between the men, including how Scott took Slager's Taser and tried to shock him with it, making the officer fear for his life before Scott tried to run away.
The white North Charleston police officer's shooting of an unarmed black motorist brought fresh scrutiny to the treatment of black men by white officers across the nation.
Potential jurors from across the state are being summoned to Columbia for jury selection, a process schedule to begin May 9. The trial itself starts a week later in Charleston.
Slager's first state trial on murder charges ended in a hung jury, but state prosecutors have promised a retrial.
Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP . Read more of her work at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/meg-kinnard/
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