Ex-policeman faces 20 years in prison for Scott slaying

In this video frame Slager wields his Taser. Feidin Santana

In this video frame Slager wields his Taser. Feidin Santana

In sentencing Slager, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to a federal civil rights violation, the judge ruled Thursday that he committed second-degree murder and obstruction of justice. The video showed Scott running away from Slager and the officer firing eight times.

A sentencing hearing is taking place this week in Charleston for Slager, the former North Charleston police officer sho shot and killed Scott in April of 2015 following a traffic stop.

Slager had pulled Scott over for a broken brake light.

Court will reconvene Thursday morning at 10 a.m.

In the dashcam video, Slager is asking Scott questions about insurance and vehicle ownership.

Defense attorneys say Slager, who has been in jail since May, deserves a far lesser sentence, in part because he has accepted responsibility for the shooting. When Slager goes back to his patrol auto, Scott opens the door and runs. Hit five times in the back, Scott crumples to the ground, falling facedown.

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.

Walter Scott in his Coast Guard days.
Courtesy of the Scott Family
Walter Scott in his Coast Guard days. Courtesy of the Scott Family

During his state trial previous year, Slager testified that he feared for his life when Scott grabbed for his weapon and charged at him.

At this week's hearing, attorneys for Slager and the state called expert witnesses to the stand to bolster rival interpretations of the video and audio, which included some dash-cam footage from Slager's auto.

The shooting was captured on a bystander's cellphone and shared around the world, setting off Black Lives Matter protests across the U.S.as demonstrators said it was another egregious example of police officers' mistreatment of African-Americans.

"We will never be the same again", said Anthony Scott, the motorist's older brother. Slager contends he was securing the weapon. But there were no complaints from the Scotts about the findings from the judge, who also determined that Slager had made false and misleading statements.

Slager's state trial ended when a panel of 11 white jurors and one black juror deadlocked previous year after deliberations over four days.

A state murder trial ended last December with a hung jury, and state prosecutors dropped the murder case in exchange for the plea on the federal charge. Last year, Scott's relatives reached a $6.5 million settlement with the city of North Charleston.

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