Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Ex-officer Slager to plead guilty after killing unarmed black man

Roland Mccarthy | 03 May, 2017, 04:16

Slager's guilty plea was part of behind-the-scenes plea negotiations that included an agreement by 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson to drop pending state murder charges against Slager.

An ex-police officer has admitted violating the civil rights of a black man he was filmed shooting to death, in a case that sparked a national outcry.

Slager, who was sacked after a viral video emerged days after the April 4, 2015, shooting, was slated to go on trial in federal court in Charleston on May 15 for federal charges of civil rights violations and obstruction of justice. But the federal indictment alleges that Slager used excessive force when he opened fire. For convicts without a previous criminal history, second degree murder usually comes with a recommended sentence of 19 years and seven months to 24 years and five months, while obstruction of justice carries a recommended sentence of 15 to 21 months-the plea agreement can be expected to shave about six years off the recommended sentencing.

In recent weeks, Slager and his attorneys have maintained the claim that Scott attempted to turn the officer's Taser against his following a brief struggle after a traffic stop in North Charleston.

In the days after the shooting, federal prosecutors alleged that Slager "knowingly and intentionally misled" state investigators in his account of the shooting.

A white police officer whose killing of a black man running from a traffic stop was captured on cellphone video pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal civil rights charges that could send him to prison for decades.

The 35 year-old former officer, who is white, faces a range of federal civil rights charges that carry up to life in prison.

Slager was handcuffed and taken into custody after entering his guilty plea. The video was widely shared around the internet, viewed millions of times, and set of a firestorm of criticism for Slager's handling of the situation.

Slager's initial trial on state murder charges ended in a hung jury in December.

The incident began when Slager pulled over Scott's 1991 Mercedes over a broken tail light.

Afterward, Slager picked up the Taser and dropped it near Scott's lifeless body, only to fetch it seconds later and return the weapon to its holster. When Scott ran away from Slager, the cop shot Scott in the back. Prosecutors in the previous administration had contemplated reaching a plea agreement with Slager, but the discussions ultimately did not yield a deal.

In the state trial, Slager told the defense that the whole ordeal has "been a nightmare".

Lance Crick, first assistant US attorney for SC, described the hearing as "significant" and declined to provide additional detail.

Because the shooting resulted in Scott's death, Norton would likely decide whether Slager committed murder or manslaughter in the killing, the experts said.

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