Jury selection is underway for the murder trial of former South Carolina cop Michael Slager, who shot and killed unarmed motorist Walter Scott during a traffic stop in early April 2015 in what prosecutors have alleged is murder, PEOPLE confirms.
On Monday, potential jurors began being interviewed in a Charleston, South Carolina, court room as Slager’s attorneys recently sought either a dismissal of the entire case or an alternate venue for the 34-year-old’s impending trial, a court official tells PEOPLE.
He has pleaded not guilty and faces 30 years to life without parole if convicted. Jury selection will take at least two days, according to the Associated Press.
Slager is charged with murder for repeatedly shooting Scott, 50, in the back as Scott ran away from him following a traffic stop in North Charleston, South Carolina, on April 4, 2015.
A bystander recorded part of the incident on video, and the release of the footage — which contradicted how authorities had described the altercation in the immediate aftermath — sparked outrage and spurred further protests about the use of force by police officers against African-Americans.
Slager was fired by the North Charleston Police Department soon after the video of the shooting was made public. His police chief said he was “sickened” by the footage.
Prior to his arrest, Slager claimed he was acting in self-defense, and his defense team has alleged that Scott was reaching for Slager’s Taser in some kind of attack before he turned and fled.
Scott was shot multiple times, according to the medical examiner.
L. Chris Stewart, lead attorney for Scott’s family, tells PEOPLE his clients will be in court on Wednesday, once a jury has been settled on.
Stewart says he is warning the family the trial will be tough to handle at times.
“I’m advising them not to be shocked or surprised or upset by anything they hear, and that they will hear some of the most ludicrous and desperate excuses from Slager and his team,” Stewart says. “I expect this to be one of the most ludicrous defenses ever.”