Michael Slager, the former Charleston, S.C. police officer that gunned down fleeing Black man Walter Scott, has pleaded guilty to the charges. The 35-year-old Slager admitted guilt for the April 2015 shooting as part of a plea agreement, and the Scott family views the moment as justice.
The Charlestons Post Courier reports:
Former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager pleaded guilty Tuesday to violating Walter Scott’s civil rights by shooting the fleeing black man five times — a sudden shift after insisting for two years he had gunned down Scott in self-defense.
Slager reached the agreement with prosecutors a week before a jury was scheduled to be selected for his trial in federal court. Under the “global” plea deal, state authorities promptly dropped a separate state murder charge. Two other federal counts of lying to investigators and using a firearm in a violent crime also will be dismissed.
Though a sentence was not agreed upon, the plea eliminates the unpredictability of a jury trial and will place key issues affecting Slager’s punishment squarely in the hands of a judge who’ll decide in the coming weeks whether the officer committed murder in shooting Scott.
The victory for the Scott family is one of few instances where a conviction has been reached in the case of a police officer shooting and killing a Black person for reasons they may have violated their rights or the use of force.
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