The two-year anniversary of Walter Scott's death was expected to pass Tuesday with little ceremony.
Advocates had gathered a year ago to remember Scott at the place where he was shot by a North Charleston police officer. His loved ones laid flowers on his grave.
But two years later in the vacant parcel, vines and grass have overtaken the artificial flowers that once made up a makeshift memorial. Empty bottles are strewn about.
Scott's relatives have no public events planned, family attorney Chris Stewart said. Instead, Stewart added, the ones most affected by the shooting are focused on one thing in the coming year: getting a conviction of the former officer, Michael Slager.
"The family is solely focused on a guilty verdict," Stewart said. "And they're thinking positively. They are positive even with the trouble they have faced."
The first jury to deliberate Slager's fate couldn't agree on whether he broke state law April 4, 2015 when he shot Scott five times from behind. That murder trial last year ended in a mistrial. Next month, a second jury will consider a different charge under federal law: violating Scott's civil rights by using excessive force.
A hearing in the federal case had been planned for Tuesday, but it was pushed back until 9 a.m. April 21. A personal issue for the defense team prompted the delay, said Donald McCune, a lawyer for Slager.
The trial is expected to start May 9 with jury selection in Columbia. Testimony will begin May 15 in Charleston. Slager faces up to life in prison if convicted of violating rights under the color of law.
Slager pulled over Scott's car for a broken brake light and ran after Scott. They got into a struggle. The officer said Scott grabbed his Taser and tried to use it, drawing his gunfire.
An eyewitness video showed Scott breaking free and running away. Slager fired eight bullets, hitting Scott five times.
To this day, Slager stands by his innocence. Court proceedings have helped slightly move public perception of the case, lead attorney Andy Savage has said. But Slager still suffers from nationwide skepticism, Savage said.
"The default attitude used to be the cop is right," Savage said. "The default attitude today is the cop is wrong. That's a terrible consequence."
Scott's family still hopes to see police departments everywhere better train their officers on de-escalation tactics that can ease tensions during confrontations, said Justin Bamberg, a state lawmaker and attorney for the relatives. Slager's trial included testimony from the former lawman and his old co-workers about their limited training on that technique.
"There are policy changes made over time that can stop another Walter Scott from happening," Bamberg said. "That's what we have to keep moving toward."