COLUMBIA, S.C. – A former South Carolina police officer will soon learn how long he’ll spend in prison for the shooting death – captured on video by a witness – of an unarmed motorist.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled to begin in Charleston on Monday for Michael Slager, the former North Charleston police officer in jail since pleading guilty in May to violating Scott’s civil rights. Scott was black. Slager is white.
The Scott family last year reached a $6.5 million settlement with the city of North Charleston. Slager, 36, pulled Scott over on April 4, 2015, for a broken brake light. The officer said he shot the 50-year-old black motorist in self-defense when Scott tried to grab his Taser.
But a bystander with a cellphone captured the shooting on video that contradicted Slager’s version of events. The video showed Scott getting about 17 feet from Slager before the officer fired eight times at his back. Scott then crumples to the ground, struck by five bullets as he ran away.
State prosecutors went after Slager on murder charges, but a panel of 11 white jurors and one black juror deadlocked last year after 22 hours of deliberations over four days. At one point, a juror sent a letter directly to the judge saying he could not “with good conscience approve a guilty verdict” and that he was unlikely to change his mind.
While that case was ongoing, federal authorities…