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

Attorney: Ex-cop who shot black man had no 'racial animus'

Walter Scott's son reads impact statement at sentencing of police officer who killed his father

Before he hands down Slager's sentence, U.S. District Judge David Norton must decide whether the April 2015 shooting was second-degree murder or manslaughter.

A federal judge has ruled that a former SC officer committed second-degree murder when he shot an unarmed black motorist to death. He added that he didn't believe the shooting was justified and he found guidelines for the sentence to be in the range of 19 to 25 years.

Judy Scott on Thursday turned toward Michael Slager and said her faith in God gives her the ability to forgive him for killing her son, Walter Scott. His father followed by his sister and brother-in-law. He also recognized Feidin Santana for shooting the cell phone video and not backing down.

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

Earlier, forensic psychiatrist Charles Morgan testified, after reviewing an evaluation of former officer, that Slager is "not impulsive" and that stress could have affected his recollection of the encounter with Scott.

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

In addition, Fishman said Slager made no claims that Scott punched him, was on top of him or was stunned with the officer's taser by Scott.

Imel also walked prosecutors through video showing Slager running back to the spot where the stun gun lay, picking it up, and later dropping it by Scott's body.

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Before closing arguments began Judy Scott, Walter Scott's mother, was called to the stand by prosecutors as a rebuttal witness.

The judge will hear more victim impact statements Thursday morning.

Scott said she heard her son groaning and in pain.

A murder trial past year in state court ended with a mistrial when jurors could not reach a verdict.

On Monday, Savage repeated his criticism that the state and federal governments teamed up unfairly on his client.

Norton will announce Slager's sentence later Thursday.

He interviewed Slager in May of 2015.

Miles Scott clutched a framed photo of his father as the former police officer who fatally shot him came closer to learning his fate. Fishman said those statements aren't backed up by evidence. Scott then urged Judge David Norton to give Slager the strongest possible sentence. I miss watching football with him.

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But he indicated he will sentence the 36-year-old Slager to a minimum of 235 months, or almost 20 years, in prison. Clutching a photograph of his father, Miles Scott said he has had trouble sleeping ever since his father's death. He testified to the working conditions of the department including Slager's role and reputation.

Slager's taser and the cell phone video of the incident were at the center of debate Tuesday afternoon with the judge even chiming in. Slager's first attempt to use the Taser on Scott did not stop him.

Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Anthony Imel returned to the stand and the defense used a tape measure to show how far away the cell phone video was shot from the scene, trying to prove it was too far to hear proper audio of the incident.

Fredericks testified that his analysis of video showed Slager and Scott were engaged in an "altercation ... a fight on the ground" before the shooting.

Hallimore says he perceived Slager was in real trouble. The audio is muffled, but the officer can be heard yelling at Scott to get down on the ground. According to Hallimore, after filtering out noise, he could hear Slager telling Scott to let go of his taser.

The testimony of Grant Fredericks, a forensic video expert, came on the day the prosecution rested its case.

The case drew national attention after a bystander's video of the shooting became public, fueling fresh concerns about how minorities are treated by police in the United States. "I'll let the court make that decision". When Scott broke away and started to run away, Slager fired at him. Santana testified that the shooting was unnecessary. "Walter Scott never took the defendant's Taser", Fishman said.

That's when Slager said he pulled the trigger.

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"Shots fired. Suspect down". Meanwhile prosecutor Jared Fishman called Slager's act calculated and deliberate.

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