|He cut a deal. I expect a Manslaughter sentence. |
Former S.C. police officer pleads guilty in fatal shooting caught on video
Former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager gestures during testimony at his murder trial in Charleston, S.C., last year. (Grace Beahm/Post and Courier via AP)
By Matt Zapotosky and Wesley Lowery May 2 at 3:48 PM
The former South Carolina police officer caught on video opening fire at a black man who was running away pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal civil rights charge, authorities said.
Michael Slager, who worked for the North Charleston Police Department, had faced both federal civil rights and state murder charges in the April 2015 shooting of Walter Scott, a 50-year-old unarmed motorist who fled after a traffic stop. Slager pleaded guilty to a single federal civil rights charge — which his attorney described as “using excessive force” — as part of a deal to resolve both cases.
“We hope that Michael’s acceptance of responsibility will help the Scott family as they continue to grieve their loss,” Andrew J. Savage III, Slager’s attorney, said in a statement.
The incident was captured on camera by a bystander, and the graphic footage rocketed around news stations and the Internet — fueling an ongoing debate about police use of force on black people. Slager soon faced charges in two court systems, though a state jury could not come to a verdict in his case after a trial late last year.