Ex-policeman faces 20 years in prison for Scott slaying

Cheryl Sanders
December 7, 2017

U.S. District Judge David Norton had to decide whether Michael Slager's shooting of Walter Scott in April 2015 was manslaughter or murder before he sentences the ex-officer. Earlier this year, Slager pleaded guilty to violating Scott's civil rights.

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.

Judge Norton, according to Burr, said that no matter what sentence he hands down, the Scott family and Slager family won't like it.

"I think everybody's just ready to close this chapter of life and start the next chapter", Scott family lawyer Justin Bamberg said. The former North Charleston police officer killed Scott following a traffic stop turned chase two years ago.


Michael Slager (right) walks from the Charleston following a mistrial previous year.

Court will reconvene Thursday morning at 10 a.m.

Slager faces life in prison and $250,000 in fines.

At Slager's sentencing hearing in Charleston this week, prosecutors said the shooting was calculated, while the defense said the patrolman had felt threatened after Scott tried to take his stun gun during a struggle. But the Scott family successfully pleaded for calm, asking everyone to let the justice system run its course. State prosecutors were set to retry him earlier this year, but as part of a plea agreement, Slager pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights violation for using excessive force and SC agreed to drop the murder charge. Scott was hit five times in the back.


On Thursday, Norton found Slager guilty of second-degree murder. A bystander caught the shooting on video. But there were no complaints from the Scotts about the findings from the judge, who also determined that Slager had made false and misleading statements.

Anthony Imel, an Federal Bureau of Investigation expert specializing in audio and video analysis, testified Monday how he enhanced Santana's video to highlight where Slager's stun gun lay, on the ground, several feet behind the officer as he ran after and shot Scott. 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. Slager contends he was securing the weapon.

Officials in North Charleston reached a $6.5 million settlement with Scott's family in 2015.


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