Ex-Cop Michael Slager Found Guilty of Murder in Walter Scott Shooting
Dec 07 2017 by Desiree Burns
Walter Scott shooting witness Feidin Santana (C), who took the video of the shooting, arrives at the Charleston federal court house on the 4th day of testimony during the sentencing hearing for former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager in Charleston, South Carolina, U.S., December 7, 2017. Slager was set to stand for retrials, on both the state and federal levels, when he pleaded guilty to the federal offense of violating Scott's civil rights in May of this year.
"The defendant shot Walter Scott in the back eight times as he was running away", prosecutor Jared Fishman said during his closing argument late Wednesday.
However, Savage said his client believed that Scott could have been armed based on the fact that he fled from the traffic stop which was initiated by a broken brake light on Scott's auto.
The judge agreed with prosecutors who argued at Slager's sentencing hearing this week that he showed malice and calculation in the April 2015 shooting. Scott's mother, Judy, turned and spoke directly to Michael Slager. Federal sentencing officials have recommended between 10 to almost 13 years in prison.
"I think everybody's just ready to close this chapter of life and start the next chapter", Scott family lawyer Justin Bamberg said.
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Court will reconvene Thursday morning at 10 a.m. "It is time to call the shooting of Walter Scott what it was: It was a murder".
Defense attorneys say Slager, who has been in jail since May, deserves a far lesser sentence, in part because he has accepted responsibility for the shooting. Scott jumped out of the vehicle and ran. Scott was hit five times in the back. At issue was Slager's state of mind and the facts of the physical altercation that preceded the shooting-including whether Scott had handled Slager's Taser and what was said between the men.
During his state trial past year, Slager testified that he feared for his life when Scott grabbed for his weapon and charged at him. Slager shot the 50-year-old man in self-defense after Scott tried to grab his Taser, Slager claimed. Slager contends he was securing the weapon. He added tht Slager obstructed justice with inaccurate statements to law enforcement after the shooting.
Slager's state trial ended when a panel of 11 white jurors and one black juror deadlocked past year after deliberations over four days.
Officials in North Charleston reached a $6.5 million settlement with Scott's family in 2015.