Judge rules ex-officer committed second-degree murder of Walter Scott
Walter Scott shooting Judge rules ex-officer committed second-degree murder of Walter Scott
- Federal judge warns Michael Slager to expect two decades behind bars
- South Carolina police officer shot black motorist in back five times in 2015
Before US district judge David Norton announced the punishment, he had to decide whether Michael Slagerâs shooting of Walter Scott in April 2015 was manslaughter or murder. After the judgeâs decision, he said he would work from guidelines that recommend Slager spend 19 to 24 years in prison.
A formal sentence was expected later on Thursday, after the judge hears testimony from Scottâs family and friends. Scottâs mother, Judy Scott, said through tears that her faith in God gave her the ability to forgive Slager. Scottâs brother Anthony Scott echoed that sentiment.
âIâm not angry at you, Michael. Michael, I forgive you, and Michael, I do pray for you now and for your family, because weâve gone through a traumatic time,â he said.
Attorneys for ex-North Charleston officer Michael Slager said he shot 50-year-old Walter Scott in self-defense after the two fought and Scott reached for Slagerâs stun gun. They said race played no role in the shooting and that Slager never had any âracial animusâ toward minorities.
Still, Slager pleaded guilty in federal court to violating Scottâs civil rights. As part of the plea agreement reached in May, prosecutors dropped state murder charges. A year ago, a state judge declared a mistrial when jurors deadlocked.
A bystander captured the shooting on a cellphone, and it was shared around the world, setting off Black Lives Matter protests across the US as demonstrators said it was the perfect example of police officersâ mistreatment of African Americans.
The bystander started recording after the struggle between Slager and Scott. The video showed Scott running away from Slager and the officer firing eight times. Scott was hit in the back five times.
After the shooting, Slager picked up his stun gun and placed it next to Scott. Slager contends he was securing the weapon. Prosecutors think he put it there to bolster his self-defense story.
The judge also found that Slager, 36, obstructed justice when he made statements to state police after the shooting.
On Wednesday, Scottâs youngest son spoke so he could return to his high school classes. Clutching a photograph of his father, Miles Scott said he has had trouble sleeping ever since his fatherâs death. He said he misses watching football games with his dad and canât fathom not being able to watch with him the game they both loved.
âI miss my father every day,â Miles Scott said through tears. âI would like you to sentence the defendant to the strongest sentence th e law allows because he murdered my one and only father.âTopics
- Walter Scott shooting
- Gun crime
- US crime
- US policing
- South Carolina
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