Slager Trial (copy)

Michael Slager sits for his murder trial last year at the Charleston County courthouse. File/Grace Beahm/Staff

What experts and North Charleston police officers can say during a civil rights trial about former lawman Michael Slager's memory lapses will be discussed during a hearing next week, according to court documents filed Thursday.

Slager, 35, is charged with violating rights under the color of law and lying to investigators in the April 2015 shooting death of Walter Scott, a black man.

He pulled over Scott's car for a broken brake light and later got into a struggle with the motorist. He said he fired in self-defense after Scott, 50, took his Taser.

But a bystander's video showed Scott turning and running away before Slager fired eight bullets, five of which hit Scott from behind.

Slager testified in a hearing this week that he couldn't recall details of his interview with state agents three days later.

He also said during his murder trial, which ended last year in a hung jury, he couldn't remember portions of his confrontation with Scott and the aftermath, including dropping the Taser near Scott's lifeless body.

Several current North Charleston policeman also testified about their distorted recollections of unrelated officer-involved shootings and traumatic events. A psychologist gave his opinion, too.

Expecting more of the same in the May 15 federal trial, prosecutors asked a judge to exclude such testimony. The witnesses will likely take the stand during Tuesday's hearing.

Defense attorneys also want to limit prosecution experts, including one who used multimedia to reconstruct portions of the fatal encounter.

The proceeding is set for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in front of U.S. District Judge David Norton in downtown Charleston.

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Reach Andrew Knapp at 843-937-5414 or

Andrew Knapp is editor of the Quick Response Team, which covers crime, courts and breaking news. He previously worked as a reporter and copy editor at Florida Today, Newsday and Bangor (Maine) Daily News. He enjoys golf, weather and fatherhood.

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