Friday, November 17, 2017

Slager to be sentenced in December for violating Walter Scott's civil rights

Maximum sentence for civil rights violation could be life in prison

Posted by Adam Manno on Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 10:31 AM

click to enlarge Michael Slager pleads guilty in a Charleston federal courthouse May 2, 2017. - ROBERT MANISCALCO
  • Robert Maniscalco
  • Michael Slager pleads guilty in a Charleston federal courthouse May 2, 2017.
Michael Slager, the former North Charleston police officer caught on video shooting Walter Scott as he fled a 2015 traffic stop is scheduled for a sentencing hearing Dec. 4, according to court documents.

U.S. District Court Judge David Norton will hear from prosecutors and defense attorneys in the case that has drawn out since Slager stopped Scott for a broken brake light on April 4, 2015.
In early May of this year, Slager pled guilty to a federal charge of violating Scott’s civil rights as part of a plea bargain, allowing him to avoid a re-trial on state murder charges. The maximum penalty for the civil rights violation is life in prison, but experts told The Post & Courier that Slager will likely face just five to 20 years.
“Today, in working with the [Justice] Department, we found justice in a resolution that vindicates the state’s interests by holding former police officer Michael Slager accountable for shooting Mr. Scott (in the back) when Slager knew it was wrong and illegal, as well as justice in a resolution that recognizes the egregious violation of Mr. Scott’s civil rights,” said lead prosecutor and Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson in a statement in May.

“He certainly was not looking for trouble that day, with the idea to hurt somebody,” said Slager defense attorney Andy Savage in an interview with The Post & Courier. “If what happened before the shooting never happened, this could have easily been prevented, and we intend to re-emphasize that at sentencing. About two minutes of the whole incident probably hasn’t been fully developed in the public’s mind.”

The original 2016 state trial ended in a hung jury.

Bystander Feidin Santana filmed the shooting on his cellphone. The video made rounds as one in a series of high-profile incidents of police brutality and excessive force against minorities.
Since Scott’s death, community groups including the Charleston Area Justice Ministry have worked to force change within police departments in Charleston and North Charleston, pushing for new policies that encourage more equity in local policing.

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