US Emotional testimony expected as ex-officer's sentencing ends

18:06  07 december  2017
18:06  07 december  2017 Source:   Associated Press

Testimony winds down at ex-South Carolina officer sentencing

  Testimony winds down at ex-South Carolina officer sentencing A white former South Carolina police officer who fatally shot a black motorist in 2015 could learn his fate as soon as Wednesday afternoon as his federal sentencing hearing winds down on its third day. Thus far, prosecutors and defense attorneys have put up more than half a dozen witnesses, several of whom have analyzed video and audio recordings of the shooting death of Walter Scott.Former North Charleston officer Michael Slager has been in jail since pleading guilty in May to violating Scott's civil rights.

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FILE - In a Nov. 29, 2016 file photo, former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager testifies during his murder trial at the Charleston County court in Charleston, S.C. Slager, who fatally shot a black motorist in 2015, could learn his fate as soon as Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 6, 2017, as his federal sentencing hearing winds down on its third day. (Grace Beahm/Post and Courier via AP, Pool, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In a Nov. 29, 2016 file photo, former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager testifies during his murder trial at the Charleston County court in Charleston, S.C. Slager, who fatally shot a black motorist in 2015, could learn his fate as soon as Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 6, 2017, as his federal sentencing hearing winds down on its third day. (Grace Beahm/Post and Courier via AP, Pool, File)

CHARLESTON, S.C. — For three days, attorneys representing the federal government and a former South Carolina officer charged in an unarmed black motorist's shooting death have presented technical testimony to a judge to consider how much time Michael Slager should spend in federal prison.

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  Prosecutors rest case at sentencing for white ex-officer Prosecutors rested their case Tuesday in the sentencing hearing for a white former police officer who pleaded guilty to violating the civil rights of a black man he shot in the back while he ran from a traffic stop. Prosecutors put up three witnesses and tried to convince a judge that former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager should face life in prison for the fatal shooting of Walter Scott in April 2015. Cellphone video of the shooting was shared widely on social media in the days after the shooting, and it has taken center stage once again at the sentencing hearing.

On Thursday, attorneys are expected to call friends and relatives of both men who will tell the judge the effect Scott's death and the officer ' s arrest have had on their lives. What's known as victim impact testimony is intended to help the judge determining the defendant' s sentence weigh the personal

On Thursday, attorneys are expected to call friends and relatives of both men who'll tell the judge how Scott's death and the officer ' s arrest have affected their lives. What's known as victim impact testimony is intended to help the judge weigh the personal implications a crime has had.

That includes use of Slager's stun gun, which the former officer says Walter Scott grabbed and turned on him, causing Slager, who is white, to fear for his life and shoot in self-defense, firing five times into his back as he ran away.

On Thursday, attorneys are expected to call friends and relatives of both men who will tell the judge the effect Scott's death and the officer's arrest have had on their lives. What's known as victim impact testimony is intended to help the judge determining the defendant's sentence weigh the personal implications a crime has had.

A preview of that testimony came Wednesday, when Scott's youngest son spoke to the court so he could return to his high school classes. Clutching a photograph of his father, Miles Scott said he has had trouble sleeping ever since his father's death. He said he misses watching football games with his dad and can't fathom not being able to watch with him the game they both loved.

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On Thursday, attorneys are expected to call friends and relatives of both men who will tell the judge the effect Scott's death and the officer ' s arrest have had on their lives. What's known as victim impact testimony is intended to help the judge determining the defendant' s sentence weigh the personal

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"I miss my father every day," Miles Scott said through tears. "I would like you to sentence the defendant to the strongest sentence the laws allows because he murdered my one and only father."

Slager, 36, pleaded guilty in May to violating Walter Scott's civil rights. Federal officials have recommended 10 to nearly 13 years in prison, but his attorneys argue Slager should face far less time.

Slager pulled Scott over for a broken brake light in April 2015, and Scott, 50, ran during the stop. After deploying his stun gun, Slager fired eight bullets at Scott as he ran away, hitting him five times in the back.

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. Slager faced murder charges in state court, but a jury in that case deadlocked last year and the state charges were dropped as part of his federal plea deal.

North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager uses "Jeff Sessions" defense

  North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager uses Slager, whose shooting of an unarmed black man, Walter Scott, was captured on video, compares his lack of recall of the incident to Sessions' testimony about Trump campaign associates and RussiaSlager is scheduled to be sentenced next Monday, and one of the elements of the case being considered by the judge is whether he lied about his conduct and concocted a story about being attacked by Walter Scott.  Scott, who was black, was shot and killed by the white police officer after a traffic stop in April 2015. In video captured by a bystander, Scott is seen running away from Slager who fired eight shots at his back.

CHARLESTON, S .C. — For three days, attorneys representing the federal government and a former South Carolina officer charged in an unarmed black motorist’ s shooting death have presented technical testimony to a judge to consider how much time Michael Slager should spend in federal prison.

On Thursday, attorneys are expected to call friends and relatives of both men who will tell the judge the effect Scott's death and the officer ' s arrest have had on their lives. What's known as victim impact testimony is intended to help the judge determining the defendant' s sentence weigh the personal

Slager has said the two men scuffled and he fired in self-defense after Scott grabbed his stun gun. In his closing argument, defense attorney Andy Savage acknowledged the shooting was criminal but reiterated the stance that his client was protecting himself and feared for his own safety.

During closing arguments, prosecutor Jared Fishman disputed that story.

"Walter Scott never assaulted the defendant. Walter Scott never took the defendant's Taser," Fishman said.

The attorney portrayed Slager as a calm, calculated officer who hadn't killed Scott in a moment of passion but did so intentionally — a hallmark of murder, not manslaughter.

"He was not in a frenzy," Fishman said. "He was not in the throes of passion."

Fishman also said Slager had changed his story several times as to what he remembered about the shooting, including flawed state trial testimony about Scott charging him with his own stun gun. Fishman said those statements aren't backed up by evidence.

"This is not memory loss," Fishman said. "This is a concerted, deliberate effort to obstruct justice and to cover up for his unjustified shooting."

In an unusual move, attorneys for Slager called the state prosecutor to the stand to question her about their assertions that she and federal prosecutors unfairly teamed up on Slager.

Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said she had interacted with federal prosecutors but couldn't recall specific contacts and hadn't planned prosecutorial decisions with them.

Also Wednesday, Scott's mother, Judy Scott, said she was on the phone with her son when he was pulled over and told him to comply with the officer's demands "so there wouldn't be any trouble."

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Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP . Read her work at https://apnews.com/search/meg%20kinnard .

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