A jury of 11 white people and one black man is scheduled to hear opening statements Thursday in the trial of Michael Slager, the former North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Walter Scott.
The case drew national attention in 2015 after video emerged showing Slager, who is white, shooting Scott, a black man, as he ran away. The graphic video sparked outrage and reignited a national conversation about race and policing.
The panel of six white men, five white women and one black man was seated Wednesday. Circuit Judge Clifton Newman denied several defense motions, including a venue change request based on pretrial publicity.
Slager killed Scott after pulling him over for a broken brake light on April 4, 2015.
The cell phone video, recorded by a bystander, shows Scott running away, his back turned. The officer raises his gun and fires eight times. Scott falls to the ground. Motionless and face down in the grass, the officer handcuffs him as someone yells, “Put your hands behind your back!”
A grand jury indicted Slager on a murder charge in June 2015. If convicted, the former officer could face 30 years to life in prison.
He was released from jail on bond in January and placed on house arrest.
The alternate jurors are two white men, two white women and two African-American women.
“White people believe in justice, too,” Scott family lawyer Justin Bamberg said when asked about the racial makeup of the jury.
The trial is being held in Charleston, where nine black people were shot and killed June 17, 2015, during Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
A white man, Dylann Roof, was charged in their killings. His federal trial is set to begin next week in the courthouse across the street.