Judge rules ex-South Carolina cop committed murder

Ex-cop Michael Slager faces 19 to 24 years in prison for shooting death of Walter Scott

"I would like (for you) to sentence the defendant to the strongest sentence the law will allow because he murdered my one and only father", Scott said. "I miss spending time with him". He said he misses watching football games with his dad. I cry all the time.

Clutching a photograph of his father, Miles Scott said he has had trouble sleeping ever since his father, Walter Scott, was shot in the back while running from then-officer Michael Slager after a traffic stop in 2015.

A federal judge ruled that Slager committed second-degree murder and obstruction of justice.

Miles Scott, his voice shaky, sat next to his mother as he read the statement. After hearing closing arguments from both sides, Norton recessed proceedings for the day and said court would reconvene at 10 a.m. Thursday, pushing the hearing into a fourth day.

The judge will hear more victim impact statements Thursday morning.

Slager pleaded guilty in May to violating Walter Scott's civil rights.

Earlier on Wednesday, Scott's 17-year-old son made an emotional plea for the judge to sentence Slager to the maximum punishment of life in prison. The judge will impose the sentence.

A bystander captured the shooting on a cellphone, and it was shared around the world, setting off Black Lives Matter protests across the U.S.as demonstrators said it was the flawless example of police officers' mistreatment of African-Americans. However, he was not allowed to introduce what was specifically said during the video to the jurors.

Savage saidSlager has accepted responsibility for his actions, and there is no question what Slager did was a criminal violation and excessive force was used in the incident.

When Judge Norton asked Humphries whether he believed Scott's killing constituted a "righteous shooting", Humphries simply replied, "No".

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. The testimony was meant to bolster the ex-cop's claim that Scott had reached for his stun gun.

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

Slager faces life in prison and $250,000 in fines. A bystander's cellphone video of the fatal chase went viral, and Slager was charged with murder in a case that became a rallying point for the Black Lives Matter movement. But he said he did not see anyone kick or throw a punch. "He grabbed my Taser", Slager is heard telling dispatchers.

"I'm not angry at you, Michael".

"The expert testified he was able to hear Scott say "**** the police" before the two got into a fight.

"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", his attorney Andy Savage said, countering assertions that the officer acted violently because Scott was black.

In this video frame, Slager wields his Taser.

The defense is arguing that Scott grabbed Slager's stun gun and had an altercation with him on the ground, which can not be clearly seen in the bystander's video.

Slager pulled Scott over for a broken brake light in April 2015, and the 50-year-old Scott ran during the stop. Moments later, Scott ran away. Slager's first attempt to use the Taser on Scott did not stop him. The audio is muffled, but the officer can be heard yelling at Scott to get down on the ground. Scott was hit five times in the back.

At this week's hearing, attorneys for Slager and the state called expert witnesses to the stand to bolster rival interpretations of the video and audio, which included some dash-cam footage from Slager's vehicle.

Walter Scott in his Coast Guard days. Feidin Santana testified that he never saw Scott grab Slager's stun gun or charge at the officer.

Hallimore says he perceived Slager was in real trouble.

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