Judge: Ex-cop committed murder in shooting death of motorist in 2015

07 December, 2017, 19:33 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Sketch of testimony at Monday's Michael Slager sentencing hearing

A white former police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man fleeing a 2015 traffic stop in SC could learn as soon as Thursday whether he will spend the rest of his life in prison for violating the motorist's civil rights.

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.

In court Tuesday, Forensic audio analyst David Hallimore testified that he heard Scott say "F*** the police" during the physical altercation with Slager.

Slager, 36, who is white, earlier pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights offense against Scott. She then looked directly at him. "I would like you to sentence the defendant to the strongest sentence the laws allow because he murdered my one and only father". But mainly the family just talked about Walter.

Slager faced murder charges in state court, but a jury in that case deadlocked a year ago, and the charges were dropped as part of his federal plea deal. But only Slager and former state trooper Sean Groubert, who shot a man as he tried to get his wallet during a seat belt violation check, will have been sent to prison.

Slager theoretically could have received a life sentence, but most legal observers had expected a sentence in the 12-to 15-year range if Norton had categorized the crime as voluntary manslaughter.

A bystander's cellphone video didn't capture the struggle but did show Slager firing into Scott as he was running away. Morgan said that Slager told him his torn-up uniform led him to believe he had been "Tasered". The defense argued for a lenient sentence, claiming that Scott had resisted and grabbed the Taser and that Slager had feared for his life.

Slager faces life in prison and $250,000 in fines. "Today, no matter what sentence I give, neither the Scott family nor the Slager family will think it is right".

The judge also ruled Slager obstructed justice in misleading investigators about what happened immediately following the shooting in April 2015. "It took me a long time".

It was the one high-profile killing of an unarmed black man by a police officer that virtually everyone could agree on. But under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a vocal opponent of police reform, the DOJ has refused to release its resulting report to the public, and has ended the police review program altogether.

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