Former SC cop committed 2nd-degree murder, judge rules

Alicia Farmer
December 7, 2017

"I miss my father every day", Miles Scott said through tears. He said he misses watching football games with his dad and can't fathom not being able to watch with him the game they both loved.

At the end of it, a judge will decide whether he thinks the civil rights violation was voluntary manslaughter or murder.

Miles Scott, his voice shaky, sat next to his mother as he read the statement. "I never thought I would lose him at a young age and I still can't believe he is gone". The former North Charleston officer faces a possible life sentence, although federal officials have recommended far less.

Hallimore testified during the State's murder trial in November of past year. Michael Slager stopped Walter Scott for a broken brake light in April 2015.

The shooting death renewed "Black Lives Matter" protests after Scott, a father of four, became the latest in a series of controversial killings of black men by police.

Slager pleaded guilty in federal court in May to violating Scott's civil rights by shooting him without justification.

Had there been no video, prosecutors said, it is likely Slager would not have been prosecuted.

"Our position is that the reasonableness of Mr. Slager's actions were appropriate until they weren't", Savage said.

Lt. Charles Ghent, a state police agent who interviewed Slager a few days after the shooting, testified that the officer never claimed that Scott had used his stun gun on him.

At one point, the judge asked Humphrey, "It's not your opinion this was a righteous shooting?"

Grant Fredericks, a forensic video analyst, was also called to the stand.

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The prosecution rested its case Tuesday morning.

Slager's attorneys have painted him as a dedicated and professional former law enforcement officer who'd never exhibited a tinge of racism.

In the dashcam video, Slager is asking Scott questions about insurance and vehicle ownership. According to Hallimore, after filtering out noise, he could hear Slager telling Scott to let go of his taser.

The witness told the court he could hear Slager tell Scott, "Let go of the Taser before I shoot you". In this case, the abuse was the killing of Scott. "Walter Scott never took the defendant's Taser", Fishman said.

On Monday, Slager's attorney attacked the credibility of a bystander whose cell phone video captured the fatal shooting and said his client was not a racist.

"There's nothing in Michael Slager's background, from birth to today, of any racial animus or any harassment of minority members of the community", lawyer Andy Savage said. "It is time to call the shooting of Walter Scott what it was: It was a murder". He concluded that Scott and Slager fought on the ground and engaged in a physical altercation prior to the shooting. Scott jumped out of the auto and ran.

A foot chase followed.

A 3-D expert testified for the defense that the taser could've landed behind Slager because Scott threw it there, or it fell and bounced behind him. The audio is muffled, but the officer can be heard yelling at Scott to get down on the ground. Slager opened fire as Scott ran away for the final time. The state murder charge was dropped as part of Slager's federal plea deal.

He argued that even at 18 feet away, Scott posed a threat and could have turned around and charged him.

Also Wednesday, Scott's mother, Judy Scott, said she was on the phone with her son when he was pulled over and told him to comply with the officer's demands "so there wouldn't be any trouble".

Fishman said Scott's killing was a murder, and said there was no good reason as to why Slager moved the taser next to Scott's body following the shooting. "I knew I was in trouble", Slager said.

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