SC officer sentenced; judge says shooting unarmed motorist was murder

Walter Scott's son reads impact statement at sentencing of police officer who killed his father

Sentencing phase begins in SC police shooting

When Scott broke away and started to run away, Slager fired at him.

The federal crime for which Slager was sentenced is "deprivation of rights under color of law", which means basically that an officer has abused his authority and violated someone's rights. Prosecutors believe the videos depict the officer's callous behavior.

Norton had a range of between 19 and 24 years in prison that he could have given Slager. He faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced by a judge, perhaps as soon as this week.

U.S. District Court Judge David Norton handed down the sentence Thursday against Michael Slager for the death of Walter Scott. Slager claimed that Scott tried to use the Taser against the officer during the ordeal. At issue was Slager's state of mind and the facts of the physical altercation that preceded the shooting-including whether Scott had handled Slager's Taser and what was said between the men.

The sentencing hearing could last several days.

"Norton had two options for the underlying offense that could affect Slager's penalty: voluntary manslaughter or second-degree murder".

During the sentencing hearing, defense attorney Andy Savage said Slager has accepted responsibility for his actions, and there is no question what Slager did was a criminal violation and excessive force was used in the incident. Scott's mother, Judy, turned and spoke directly to Michael Slager. Scott jumped out of the vehicle and ran.

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The men move out of view of the dashcam. A bystander recorded the incident, in which the 50-year-old Scott was hit five times from behind, sparking a national outcry.

This week, federal prosecutors and Slager's lawyers have called witnesses to testify about technical aspects of the case, including what happened to Slager's stun gun before the shooting.

Slager shot and killed Scott on April 4, 2015, while Slager was an officer with the North Charleston Police Department.

Slager was charged in SC with murder and pleaded not guilty. Slager contends he was securing the weapon.

Slager's state trial ended when a panel of 11 white jurors and one Black juror deadlocked a year ago after deliberations over four days. Four have pleaded guilty in state or federal court in the past six years.

State prosecutors had tried Slager for murder last fall, but the judge declared a mistrial after a mostly white jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict-either on the charge of murder or a lesser manslaughter charge.

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