In a shocking killing that was caught on video by a bystander, Walter Scott is seen being shot in the back and killed by a police officer. The officer, Michael Slager, is seen in the video shooting Scott several times in the back as the unarmed man is running away from him. When he was initially charged and went on trial for the killing of the unarmed man, Slager’s case ended in a mistrial.
Slager was later charged under a federal indictment for using excessive force in the killing of Scott. In a 13-page document that was released to the media, Slager has agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge of using excessive force. With his guilty plea, Slager will have pending murder charges in state court dropped.
As part of his plea deal, Slager’s legal team acknowledged, “The defendant willfully used deadly force even though it was objectively unreasonable under the circumstances. The defendant acknowledges that during the time he used deadly force, he knew that the use of deadly force was unnecessary and excessive, and therefore unreasonable under the circumstances.”
Although it’s currently unclear what his exact sentence will be, Slager faces a possible life sentence along with $250,000 in fines. Federal prosecutors are likely to recommend that Slager receive a reduction in his offense level, which would mean he gets less than the maximum sentence.
In a press statement, Slager’s attorney said, “We hope that Michael’s acceptance of responsibility will help the Scott family as they continue to grieve their loss. As a sentencing date has not yet been determined, we will refrain from further comment at this time.”
With this guilty plea, this marks one of the rare times a police officer has been charged and convicted of killing an unarmed Black man.