Attorneys Deliver Opening Statements In Michael Slager Trial; Plus, 2 Early Voting Days Left In NC

Nov 3, 2016

In April, 2015, then-Charleston police officer Michael Slager allegedly shot an unarmed black man, Walter Scott, eight times in the back as he fled a traffic stop. Now, nearly a year and a half later, a court will decide whether Slager was justified in the shooting.

Attorneys for the prosecution and the defense delivered opening statements Thursday to a jury of 11 white people and one black man who were selected earlier in the week.

In her opening statement, Solicitor Scarlett Wilson argued Slager may have been provoked if Scott wrestled his stun gun from him, but that doesn't justify shooting Scott in the back as he tried to run away.

"If Walter Scott had not resisted arrest, he wouldn't have been shot. He paid the extreme consequence for his conduct. He lost his life for his foolishness," she said. Still, she argued, Slager is being tried for the actions he took after Scott broke away from the officer.

"We are here," she said, "...to bring accountability to Michael Slager for his actions."

SBI Investigating Officer-Involved Shooting In Salisbury

Police in Salisbury say an unidentified person has died after firing at police officers attempting to serve a warrant Thursday morning.

A statement from the Salisbury Police Department says officers were trying to serve a warrant at a home around 9:30 a.m. Thursday. Officials say someone inside the home fired at police, and the officers returned fire. The person was taken to a nearby hospital and died.

According to the department's statement, the warrant was drawn to search for narcotics, weapons, and stolen property. The State Bureau of Investigation is leading the inquiry into the shooting. The officers have not been identified.

Senator Richard Burr Walks Back Supreme Court Comments

North Carolina Senator Richard Burr is softening a hard-line stance he took last weekend, when he promised a group of Republican supporters at a private gathering that if re-elected to a third term, he would do everything possible to make sure "four years from now, we're still going to have an opening on the supreme court."

Burr released a statement Thursday saying he would "assess the record of any Supreme Court nominee."

Burr says Clinton has a long history of backing liberal judges and that he would reject any he thinks would work to advance their personal or political agenda, or who would not rule in accordance with the law and the Constitution.

Early Voting In NC Ending At 1 p.m. Saturday Afternoon

As of Thursday morning, Democrats have been leading in total ballots submitted in early voting, 43 percent to 32 percent, but data compiled by the Associated Press finds Democrat Hillary Clinton is not doing as well in North Carolina as President Barak Obama in 2012.

African-American turnout, in particular, has declined to 22 percent of the early vote, from 28 percent in 2012. Meanwhile the white vote has risen to about 73 percent from 67 percent. The number of early voting sites has decreased since 2012.

Early voting in North Carolina ends Saturday, November 5, at 1 p.m.