Michael Slager, South Carolina police officer who killed Walter Scott, will plead guilty: report

Michael Slager claimed he shot Scott in self-defense, but video of the shooting countered his claim

By Matthew Rozsa

Published May 2, 2017 4:02PM (EDT)


Even as Americans learn about the horrifying story of Jordan Edwards, a Texas teenager who was shot to death by a police officer in the suburbs of Dallas, justice may be coming to another high-profile African-American victim of an unjust police shooting.

Michael Slager, the former North Charleston police officer who shot and killed a 50-year-old African-American man named Walter Scott in April 2015, is expected to plead guilty in the federal civil rights case being prosecuted against him, according to a report by The Post and Courier. While it has not yet been disclosed to which charges Slager will plead guilty, he has been charged with deprivation of rights under the color of law, lying to state investigators and the use of a firearm in a violent crime.

Although Slager claims that he shot Scott in self-defense after Scott managed to get hold of Slager's Taser, which Slager claims occurred after the officer pulled over Scott because of a broken brake light, an eyewitness video filmed by Feidin Santana showed that Scott had turned and started running away when Slager began shooting him. Of the eight bullets fired at Scott, five were shot from behind.

In March a federal judge ruled that the jury would be allowed to view the eyewitness video during Slager's trial.

Last year the Walter Scott case ended in a hung jury, resulting in the judge calling for a mistrial. A pretrail hearing was set for Tuesday morning but has been rescheduled for Tuesday afternoon.


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Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Police Racism Racial Profiling Racism Walter Scott