>> Two cases for killings that rocked South Carolina to its core in 2015 opening within days of each other this week. Jury selections in the murder trial against former police officer Michael Slager in the shooting death of unarmed motorist Walter Scott beginning Monday. And the death penalty case against white supremacist Dylann Roof following days later.
At a courthouse across the street, residents in the city of Charleston are on eggshells as the trials open. Reuter's reporter, Harriet McCloud was at the courthouse for the Slager trial Monday.>> People are tense about the justice system working. Black community, especially in the Slager case, is watching very carefully to see what the outcome of this will be.
They are very different cases, the Roof case is not about guilt or innocence, but whether Roof will get the federal death penalty, which is relatively rare. With Michael Slager, the question is whether a police officer will be convicted for using deadly force against an unarmed man.>> In the Slager case, his defense will argue he felt threatened, and that Scott wrestled for his taser.
Though in the video, Scott can be seen running away as Slager shoots him in the back. Attorneys for 22 year old Roof on the other hand are mainly fighting to avoid a death sentence for the killing of nine churchgoers. The two cases are likely to reignite some of the anguish wrought by these horrific tragedies.
Now city officials are eager to keep the peace. Charleston reacted with protests, but not violence after the Scott shooting. And after the Emmanuel tragedy, Charleston reacted with lots of free speech, some protests, but not violence.>> Last year, Scott's family received a $6.5 million settlement from the city of North Charleston.
Slager faces federal charges in a US district court in Charleston. A trial date for those charges has not been set.