Michael Slager, the former police officer in North Charleston, S.C who shot Walter Scott, has pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights charge, according to reports.
On April 4, 2015, Slager, a white officer, pulled over 50-year-old Walter Scott, a black man, for a broken brake light. Scott fled from his car, and a foot chase with Slager began. After a quick struggle, Scott broke away and ran. Slager fired eight shots, striking Scott five times in the back. The shooting was caught on video by a bystander and national backlash soon followed.
Slager was charged with a slew of charges including murder. In December 2016, his murder trial ended in a hung jury. State prosecutors had been set to retry Slager, but as part of his plea, the murder charge has been dropped.
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“The Department of Justice will hold accountable any law enforcement officer who violates the civil rights of our citizens by using excessive force,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “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.”
The Associate Press reports that Slager still faces a possible sentence of life in prison and $250,000 in fines. However, “are proposing a sentence based on federal guidelines for a second-degree murder conviction, which recommend more than 20 years.”