Sentencing Begins in Trial of Former South Carolina Cop Who Killed Walter Scott

Former North Charleston, S.C., Police Officer Michael Slager testifies during his murder trial at the Charleston County court Nov. 29, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. (Grace Beahm-Pool/Getty Images)

The sentencing hearing for former South Carolina Police Officer Michael Slager, who was caught on videotape shooting and killing a fleeing, unarmed Walter Scott during a 2015 traffic stop, begins Monday.

As USA Today notes, Slager, 36, could face life in prison in addition to a $250,000 fine for using excessive force in the incident.


The former cop escaped justice last year after his state murder trial ended in a hung jury. However, in May he secured a deal on federal charges, pleading guilty to charges of deprivation of rights under the color of law, and essentially owning up to using excessive force in Scott’s death in exchange for having the state charges and two other federal counts dropped.

It is expected that the sentencing hearing will last about a week, according to USA Today. The news site also notes that the hearing will include testimony to determine if Slager’s crime is equivalent to voluntary manslaughter or murder.


Prosecutors say that the killing of Scott was a murder, arguing for Slager to receive the maximum sentence, while Slager’s attorney, Andrew Savage III, claims that Slager is not safe in prison and does not deserve to spend the rest of his life there.

Justin Bamberg, an attorney representing Scott’s family, said that although he believes Slager deserves life in prison, his clients will get closure from whatever time he serves.


“I think everybody’s just ready to close this chapter of life and start the next chapter,” Bamberg said. “But all of them end the same way, and that is that Walter’s not here.”

Read more at USA Today.

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Breanna Edwards

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