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

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

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. Before a state retrial and a federal trial, Slager in May pleaded guilty to violating Scott's civil rights in federal court.

The cellphone video shows Scott getting about 17 feet from Slager before the officer fires at him eight times.

On April 4, 2015, Slager stopped the auto Scott was driving in North Charleston for a broken rear brake light.

A judge is deciding whether Scott's shooting was murder or manslaughter.

"I forgive Michael Slager", mother Judy Scott said.

"My dad will never see my future kids, his grandchildren, and I know he would have loved them as much as he loved me", Miles Scott said in a slow, soft voice.

Michael Slager (right) walks from the Charleston following a mistrial past year.

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The North Charleston Police Department fired Slager after the footage surfaced publicly.

The sentencing hearing reconvenes Tuesday morning and could last several days. Prosecutors think it's murder, making Slager eligible for a life sentence. "It is time to call the shooting of Walter Scott what it was: It was a murder". When Slager goes back to his patrol vehicle, Scott opens the door and runs. Scott was hit in the back five times.

The shooting was caught on video by a witness.

During his state trial a year ago, Slager testified that he feared for his life when Scott grabbed for his weapon and charged at him.

Federal authorities allege Slager obstructed justice by misleading officials about his encounter with Scott, including moving the stun gun from where it had fallen prior to the shooting. At issue was Slager's state of mind and the facts of the physical altercation that preceded the shooting-including whether Scott had handled Slager's Taser and what was said between the men.

Anthony Imel, an Federal Bureau of Investigation expert specializing in audio and video analysis, testified Monday how he enhanced Santana's video to highlight where Slager's stun gun lay, on the ground, several feet behind the officer as he ran after and shot Scott. Slager contends he was securing the weapon.

Slager pleaded guilty to the charge earlier this year. As part of the plea agreement reached in May, prosecutors dropped state murder charges.

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