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


Thursday morning a federal judge ruled Michael Slager committed murder in the second degree on the day he shot and killed Walter Scott.

Norton also said he found Scott did not sufficiently provoke Slager to justify Slager shooting him.

The judge's decision comes after Slager, who is white, pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights offense.

"The defendant willfully used deadly force even though it was objectively unreasonable under the circumstances", the plea agreement stated.

Slager's first trial on the murder charge, held a year ago, ended in a mistrial, when jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

The judge did not immediately sentence Slager, 36, who could face up to life in prison.

The cellphone video shows Scott getting about 17 feet from Slager before the officer fires at him eight times.

Mother Jones covered that trial and the events that led up to it in a feature story that included a visit to the academy where Slager was trained.

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

Scott's family members addressed the court after Norton's ruling. Scott initially ran from Slager, who tried to use a Taser on him before the pair struggled on the ground. She asked Slager to accept Jesus and said she forgives him for the shooting. "No matter what sentence I give, neither the Scott family nor the Slager family will think it is right".

"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.

In court Tuesday, Forensic audio analyst David Hallimore testified that he heard Scott say "F*** the police" during the physical altercation with Slager. And, Norton said, Slager obstructed justice by his inaccurate statements to law enforcement after the shooting.

In return, state murder charges were dropped.

A judge is deciding whether Scott's shooting was murder or manslaughter. Slager contends he was securing the weapon.

It was the one high-profile killing of an unarmed black man by a police officer that virtually everyone could agree on.

Scott's older brother, Anthony, told the court he'd become depressed after the shooting and that he was probably the last in his family to be able to forgive Slager.