The shooting of Walter Scott by a North Charleston, S.C., police officer has generated national outrage. Since video of the incident surfaced, the officer has been fired and charged with murder.
Legal and police tactics experts said the video would be powerful evidence in the criminal case. But they say it still leaves the officer's defense with options, reports the Los Angeles Times.
One likely defense focus will be what is not on the video. The interaction between Scott and the officer before the shooting is not seen, nor is the traffic stop that began the incident. Defense attorneys will probably push on this, the experts said, telling jurors that the video doesn't tell the whole story.
"What was the conversation and interaction between the officer and the subject?" said retired Los Angeles police Capt. Greg Meyer. "Why did the subject run away?"
Still, Meyer said that tactic can only go so far.
"On its face the video causes great concerns about the use of deadly force in this case," said Meyer, who appeared as a defense witness in the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant by a transit officer at an Oakland station.
Others agreed, saying one reason the video is so powerful is that it clearly shows the shooting itself.
"Every frame of this video is going to be analyzed," said Ed Obayashi, an attorney and sheriff's deputy in Northern California who is a use-of-force expert. "But so is everything before the video, and that is what is going to be the officer's justification and his defense."