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Dylann Roof and Michael Slager Both to Face Trial In Charleston In Coming Week

Within next seven days, Charleston, SC will simultaneously host two high-profile trials of white men who killed black people. The trials, especially that concerning a police shooting, could strain the historically sleepy sea-side city, which resisted violence in the aftermath of both events.The more controversial trial is that of Michael Slager, a former North Charleston police officer who is charged with the murder of William Scott. Scott fled from Slager during a routine traffic stop; Slager was captured on a cell phone camera, shooting Scott in the back five times, from a distance of twenty feet. Slager has claimed self-defense, saying Scott had tried to grab his taser. (Slager is white, and Scott was black.) Jury selection begins on Monday, Oct. 31.Recent court filings show that the prosecution offered Slager a plea deal, and he declined. Slager’s team unsuccessfully tried to have the case dismissed, saying the joint state and federal prosecution is politically motivated.Across the street, beginning a week later, Dylann Roof will stand trial in federal court for killing nine black parishioners at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The avowed white nationalist, who has reportedly confessed and said he wanted to start a race war, is expected to plead guilty in an effort to avoid the death penalty. (Prosecutors decided not to pursue the death penalty against Slager.)Police had previously reported that the two men occupied adjacent cells in jail.

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