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Judge: Ex-cop committed murder in shooting death of motorist in 2015

Judge: Ex-cop committed murder in shooting death of motorist in 2015

A federal judge has ruled that Michael Slager-the former SC police officer who in May pleaded guilty to using excessive force and violating the civil rights of the late Walter Scott-committed second-degree murder.

Judge Norton, according to Burr, said that no matter what sentence he hands down, the Scott family and Slager family won't like it. Slager claimed that Scott tried to use the Taser against the officer during the ordeal.

Initially, Circuit Judge Clifton Newman had declared a mistrial in Slager's shooting of Scott, with the jury of 12 people unable to come to a unanimous decision on the case.

In a sentencing mini-trial that commenced on Monday, federal prosecutors and Slager's defense attorneys presented evidence to sway US District Court Judge David Norton's views about Slager's culpability on the day he shot and killed 50-year-old Scott during a traffic stop gone bad. He broke down the cell phone video frame by frame and explained that he could see that there was a fight between Scott and Slager, when they were on the ground.

On Thursday, Norton found Slager guilty of second-degree murder. He also testified that he heard Slager say "Let go of my taser before I shoot you". State prosecutors were set to retry him earlier this year, but as part of a plea agreement, Slager pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights violation for using excessive force and SC agreed to drop the murder charge.

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A bystander recorded the shooting on a cellphone, and it was shared around the world, setting off protests across the U.S.as demonstrators said it was another egregious example of police officers mistreating African-Americans. Federal sentencing officials have recommended between 10 to almost 13 years in prison.

During final statements Wednesday sentencing, Jared Fishman, one of the prosecutors in the case, admitted that Scott did not obey commands during the stop-including running from the officer after he was pulled over-but that doesn't justify what happened. Scott was hit five times in the back.

Slager was charged in SC with murder and pleaded not guilty.

The incident between Slager and Scoot took place on April 4, 2015, while Slager was an officer with the North Charleston Police Department. Slager contends he was securing the weapon. The former police officer has been in jail since his plea in May. Before a state retrial and a federal trial, Slager in May pleaded guilty to violating Scott's civil rights in federal court.

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