Monday, 16 July, 2018

Ex-Cop Michael Slager Found Guilty of Murder in Walter Scott Shooting

Former South Caro...									Posted Dec. 6 2017 3:22 AM					Updated Dec. 6 2017 10:37 AM Former South Caro... Posted Dec. 6 2017 3:22 AM Updated Dec. 6 2017 10:37 AM
Melinda Barton | 07 December, 2017, 19:33

The ruling by US district court judge David Norton at a federal hearing addressed the underlying offense against Michael Slager, 36, for violating Scott's civil rights during a 2015 shooting.

Slager, 36, pleaded guilty in federal court in May to violating Scott's civil rights by shooting Scott without justification.

Slager stopped the vehicle Scott was driving for a broken rear brake light in North Charleston in April 2015.

This week's sentencing hearings are a chance for Judge Norton to decide the basis for Slager's punishment: second-degree murder, as the federal prosecution is arguing, or manslaughter, as posited by the defense.

"There's nothing in Michael Slager's background, from birth to today, of any racial animus or any harassment of minority members of the community", his attorney Andy Savage said, countering assertions that the officer acted violently because Scott was black.

Dr. Morgan wrote in a report after meeting with Slager that the former officer did not remember Scott being on top of him.

A pre-sentencing report for Slager found that he committed manslaughter and recommended 10 to almost 13 years in prison.

Court will reconvene Thursday morning at 10 a.m. Prosecutors think it's murder, making Slager eligible for a life sentence. Scott was hit in the back five times.

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.

At this week's hearing, attorneys for Slager and the state called expert witnesses to the stand to bolster rival interpretations of the video and audio, which included some dash-cam footage from Slager's vehicle. She asked Slager to accept Jesus and said she forgives him for the shooting. Slager shot the 50-year-old man in self-defense after Scott tried to grab his Taser, Slager claimed. Slager has maintained he was merely securing the weapon.

The judge also ruled Slager obstructed justice in misleading investigators about what happened immediately following the shooting in April 2015.

Slager pleaded not guilty, and his attorney said at trial a year ago that his client feared for his life.

A state murder trial ended last December with a hung jury, and state prosecutors dropped the murder case in exchange for the plea on the federal charge.

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