Former SC Cop Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges in Fatal Shooting of Walter Scott

Grace Beahm-Pool/Getty Images
Grace Beahm-Pool/Getty Images

Updated Tuesday, May 2, 2017, 6:52 p.m. EDT: Michael Slager pleaded guilty Tuesday to violating Walter Scott’s civil rights.

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“We hope that Michael’s acceptance of responsibility will help the Scott family as they continue to grieve their loss,” said Andrew Savage, Slager’s defense attorney.

There’s only one thing: Slager has not accepted responsibility.

NPR reports that as part of the plea deal, “the state of South Carolina will drop a murder charge against Slager, according to Alexandra Olgin of South Carolina Public Radio.”

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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions patted himself on the back following Slager’s guilty plea:

The Department of Justice will hold accountable any law-enforcement officer who violates the civil rights of our citizens by using excessive force.

Such failures of duty not only harm the individual victims of these crimes; they harm our country, by eroding trust in law enforcement and undermining the good work of the vast majority of honorable and honest police officers.

Earlier:

Former North Charleston, S.C., Police Officer Michael Slager is expected to plead guilty to violating the civil rights of Walter Scott, an unarmed black motorist who was shot and killed as he was attempting to flee from a 2015 traffic stop, the Associated Press reports.

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According to a 13-page plea agreement, obtained by AP, state prosecutors are also dropping a pending murder charge against Slager in a move that will basically bring an end to the federal and state cases against the former officer.

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Slager, 35, was set to make a federal court appearance Tuesday for motions related to his federal trial, which was planned for later this month.

Scott’s shooting sparked outrage after bystander video captured Slager shooting at the fleeing 50-year-old, firing eight shots and hitting Scott five times in the back.

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Last year, Slager’s state murder trial ended in a hung jury, and state prosecutors planned to retry him later this year. However, the deal that drops the remaining federal charges against Slager also tosses out the pending murder charge.

Slager, however, could still face a life sentence when he is sentenced by a federal judge, AP notes.

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Read more at Talking Points Memo.

News Editor at The Root, animation nerd, soca junkie, yogi

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DISCUSSION

As we wait for the events to play out in the Jordan Edwards’ case, it’s pragmatic to keep the Walter Scott case in the forefront of our minds, and not hope for a certain outcome just because we badly want it to be so. Two years after shooting an unarmed black man in the back on camera, a police officer will negotiate a deal to forego a murder trial, and the hopes of any semblance of justice will rest in the hands of a federal judge who will issue a prison sentence to the disgraced former office for the terribly vague as hell crime of ‘violating Scott’s civil rights’. For a crime of this sort, the judge can give any number of years as a sentence, up to and including life imprisonment...so we could be looking at 5 years, or 7 1/2..shit why not just give him 2 years to match the amount of time this terrible cloud has been hanging over the poor man’s head. He should be allowed to move on just as the rest of America has, presumably. See, I am not hopeful that Slager will receive the max sentence here, because I have no reason to waste time hoping a system designed to hurt me will alluva sudden do something to help me. In 2017, hope is frivolous, desired but frivolous. I wish I had hope that the good thing will happen and Scott’s family/Edwards’ family will find some level of peace. But I’m not naive, or that young anymore, and I’ve seen this movie enough times to know how it will likely end.