The Latest: 3rd day of ex-officer’s sentencing wraps up
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on the federal sentencing of a white former South Carolina officer who pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights violation in the shooting death of an unarmed black motorist (all times local):
Closing arguments have wrapped up in the federal sentencing trial of a former South Carolina police office facing prison time for the shooting of an unarmed motorist.
Attorneys for Michael Slager reiterated their argument that the officer was afraid, not malicious, when he shot Walter Scott five times in the back following an April 2015 traffic stop.
Federal prosecutor Jared Fishman said Slager changed his story of what happened multiple times and wasn’t justified in shooting Scott.
A judge is deciding whether Scott’s shooting was murder or manslaughter. The former North Charleston officer faces a possible life sentence, although federal officials have recommended far less. Scott’s youngest son on Wednesday asked a judge to levy the harshest possible sentence.
Court will reconvene Thursday morning at 10 a.m. Both sides are expected to call witnesses to give statements on the impact the shooting has had on them and weigh in on a possible sentence.
A lawyer for a former South Carolina police officer says there’s no question his client committed a crime when he shot a fleeing, unarmed motorist in the back five times.
Andy Savage said during his closing argument Wednesday that Michael Slager’s shooting of Walter Scott constituted voluntary manslaughter, not murder. Federal prosecutors argue the shooting was murder, saying earlier Wednesday that Slager was calm and calculating when he shot Scott five times in the back.
Savage also countered the government’s assertion that Slager changed his story about the shooting multiple times, saying his client gave consistent statements to officers at the scene of the April 2015 shooting as well as to state police agents several days later.
A judge is mulling how much time Slager should spend in federal prison for violating Scott’s civil rights.
Federal prosecutors have made their final argument as to why a white former South Carolina officer’s shooting of a fleeing back motorist was murder.
Jared Fishman said during closing arguments Wednesday that Michael Slager unnecessarily shot “a man who was running away” five times in the back after a traffic stop, something far outside standard operating procedure for police work.
Fishman said Walter Scott didn’t comply with Slager’s commands to stop, but that doesn’t justify shooting him.
A judge charged with sentencing Slager on a federal civil rights conviction must first decide if the April 2015 shooting of Walter Scott was second-degree murder, as the government argues, or voluntary manslaughter.
Slager’s attorneys are expected to argue that they believe the shooting was manslaughter, which would mean a lesser sentence for Slager.
He faces a possible life sentence, although federal authorities have recommended far less.
The mother of a black motorist shot by a white South Carolina police officer says she told her son to comply with Michael Slager’s demands “so there wouldn’t be any trouble.”
Judy Scott testified Wednesday that she was on the phone with her son Walter Scott when Slager pulled him over for a traffic stop in April 2015.
Judy Scott also said she didn’t hear her son say any curse words during their call. Slager’s attorneys put up a forensic audio and video expert who says a microphone on Slager’s uniform picked up Scott saying, “F--k the police” after Slager asked him to get on the ground.
An expert who examined a stun gun used by a white former South Carolina police officer on a fleeing black motorist says the weapon could have been dangerous after its initial deployment.
Darko Babic (dar-KO bah-BIK) testified Wednesday he examined the stun gun Michael Slager fired before using his handgun to fatally shoot Walter Scott following an April 2015 traffic stop. Babic also demonstrated the use of a stun gun in court, to show the difference between the loud noise made when the probes deploy and the more muted sound the Taser makes when used in direct contact with someone’s skin.
Babic said the weapon was discharged six times the day of the shooting.
Slager has said he shot Scott in self-defense, feeling threatened when Scott grabbed his stun gun.
The solicitor who brought state murder charges against a white former South Carolina officer in the shooting death of an unarmed black motorist is testifying during Michael Slager’s federal sentencing.
Solicitor Scarlett Wilson was called Wednesday by Slager’s attorneys, who have long alleged state and federal officials unfairly teamed up on their client. Wilson says she had interacted with federal officials but couldn’t recall specific contacts and hadn’t planned prosecutorial decisions with them.
Last year, a state jury deadlocked in Slager’s state murder trial, and that charged was dropped as part of his federal guilty plea in May to violating Scott’s civil rights.
Slager is facing up to a year in prison. Earlier Wednesday, Scott’s youngest son asked a judge to sentence Slager to life, although federal officials have recommended 10 to nearly 13 years.
A former supervisor says a South Carolina police officer followed procedures during the shooting of an unarmed black motorist in 2015.
Wade Humphries testified Wednesday that former North Charleston officer Michael Slager followed proper protocols in his encounter with Walter Scott during and after a traffic stop.
Humphries had been Slager’s supervisor when the officer worked the night shift before switching to daytime duty. He helped demonstrate how officers are trained to disarm anyone with a weapon and said Slager acted appropriately.
Slager is facing federal sentencing this week for violating Scott’s civil rights. Earlier Wednesday, Scott’s youngest son asked a judge to sentence Slager to life, although federal officials have recommended 10 to nearly 13 years.
The youngest son of a slain black motorist has asked a judge to levy the stiffest possible sentence against the former police officer who shot his father to death.
Miles Scott asked a federal judge mulling how much time Michael Slager should spend in prison for “the strongest sentence the laws allow.”
Scott’s father, Walter Scott, died in April 2015 after Slager shot him in the back five times following a traffic stop. Slager has said he shot in self-defense because he felt threatened when Scott grabbed his stun gun.
Through tears, clutching a framed photograph of his father, Miles Scott said he has had trouble sleeping and misses watching football games with his dad.
Slager is being sentenced this week for violating Scott’s civil rights. He faces a possible life sentence, although federal officials have recommended 10 to nearly 13 years.
The sentencing hearing for a white former South Carolina law officer facing federal prison time for violating the civil rights of an unarmed black motorist is entering its third day.
The proceedings for Michael Slager could wrap up Wednesday. Thus far, prosecutors and defense attorneys have put up more than half a dozen witnesses, several of whom have analyzed video and audio recordings of the April 2015 shooting death of Walter Scott.
Slager has been in jail since pleading guilty in May to violating Scott’s civil rights. He faced murder charges in state court, but a jury in that case deadlocked last year, and the charges were dropped as part of his federal plea deal.
Slager faces a possible life sentence, although federal officials have recommended 10 to nearly 13 years in prison. His attorneys argue the 36-year-old Slager should face far less time.
A year ago, former South Carolina police officer Michael Slager heard a judge declare a mistrial in the state murder case against him for shooting an unarmed black motorist to death.
This week, Slager sits in a federal courtroom, where a judge is considering how much time the former North Charleston officer will spend in federal prison for the shooting.
Slager pleaded guilty in May to violating Walter Scott’s civil rights, shooting the motorist in the back as he ran away. Sentencing proceedings are moving quickly, since the judge has all the state evidence.
The federal judge has also allowed expert testimony blocked from the state trial. A forensic analyst testified Slager fought with Scott before their fatal encounter.