Four months after he was released from jail on bond, a South Carolina cop who shot and killed a man who was running away from him, only to claim he had been charging at him, is expected to be jailed again.
But this time on federal charges.
Michael Slager, the North Charleston police officer who killed Walter Scott in 2015 in an incident captured on video by a bystander, was indicted this week by a federal grand jury on three charges.
In the indictment filed Tuesday, the grand jury accuses Michael Slager, a former North Charleston police officer, of depriving Scott of his rights under color of law. The grand jury said that when Slager shot Scott “without legal justification” in April 2015, he took away his constitutional right “to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a law enforcement officer.”
Slager is also charged with obstruction of justice, with the grand jury saying that he knowingly misled state investigators by telling them that that Scott, who was not armed, was approaching him with a Taser. He was also charged with one count of using a weapon during “a felony crime of violence.”
In convicted, Slater could be sentenced to life in prison. But because there are no minimum sentences for the charges, he could also wind up on probation.
He is also still awaiting trial on state murder charges, which could also land him with a life sentence.
The fact that federal prosecutors decided to pursue charges against him is a rarity considering the U.S. Department of Justice declined to take 96 percent of cases involving law enforcement officers since 1995, according to a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review investigation.
But few cases are as cut and dry as this one.
The incident took place in April 2015 when Slager pulled Scott over for a broken tail light, resulting in Scott running away from the scene to avoid being incarcerated for missed child support payments.
Slager began chasing him through a field, then pulled out his gun and shot him several times.
Then he walked up to the body and dropped his taser gun next to it.
And then he claimed that Scott had charged him, trying to pry the stun gun from his hands while beating him.
But it was all being recorded by a man with a camera.