A white former police officer has pleaded guilty in the shooting death of a black man in South Carolina, even as the Justice Department decided not bring charges against two officers involved in a fatal shooting in Louisiana.
Former Charleston, South Carolina, Officer Michael Slager, 35, on Tuesday admitted violating Walter Scott’s civil rights by shooting him without justification. He could get up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine at sentencing, though prosecutors agreed to ask for no more than 20 years behind bars. No sentencing date was set.
Slager shot Scott in the back as he ran away after struggling with Slager over the officer’s Taser. Slager then began firing at Scott’s back from 17 feet away. Five of eight bullets hit him. A bystander’s grainy video of the shooting was viewed millions of times online.
As part of the deal, the state of South Carolina will not pursue a murder charge against Slager.
Also Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that the Justice Department will not bring charges against the officers involved in the shooting death of Alton Sterling last year in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The videotaped shooting last summer prompted widespread protests across the city.
The Justice Department has not issued a formal announcement of the decision.