Civil rights violation plea allows former officer to avoid state murder trial
Former police officer Michael Slager has accepted a Federal plea bargain deal in which he concedes to having violated the civil rights of Walter Scott when he fatally shot Scott five times as the apparently unarmed Scott fled from him. The shooting occurred in April 2015 in Charleston SC. Slager is white and Scott was black. A copy of the plea deal is embedded below.
We previously covered this case at Legal Insurrection in several posts:
The plea arrangement, as reported by the LA Times and other sources, purportedly allows Slager to avoid being re-tried on murder charges in state court.
His first murder trial ended inconclusively with a hung jury this past December, and Slager was scheduled to be retried this month. The deal also appears to hold out that prospect that Slager might receive a less than life sentence from the Federal court. Naturally, this also means that his sentence will be served in Federal, rather than state, prison, a factor that may have played a substantial role in Slager’s agreeing to the deal.
The Slager case was unusual from most of the prominently reported police shootings of black suspects in recent years in several respects. First, the shooting was captured on cell phone video (embedded below). Second, it appeared that Scott was not presenting a threat of death or grave bodily injury to anyone at the moment he was shot. Third, Slager appears to have dissembled in his recounting of events around the shooting.
The unedited video can be viewed below. Note that it shows the shooting and Scott’s apparent death, and includes some modest profanity.
As promised, here’s the plea agreement:
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