Officials in President Donald Trump’s administration back the prosecution of the former North Charleston policeman who shot Walter Scott, according to a government attorney’s statement on Friday.
According to the Post and Courier, the statement came as attorneys for Slager’s upcoming federal civil rights trial discussed whether jurors should be permitted to hear about the chaos across the nation concerning police killings.
Recently Slager’s defense team had a meeting with Justice Department officials in Washington to discuss their belief the case had been unjustly handled. That meeting brought speculation in some circles that the federal prosecution under the Trump administration may not move forward.
The newspaper reports that defense lawyer Andy Savage had argued that federal’s part in the case was prompted by the public’s anger over police misconduct that was taking place nationwide at the time.
In the federal trial, Slager will face up to life in prison if convicted of violating rights under the color of law in the April 4, 2015 death of Scott, 50. Slager is also is charged with lying to investigators. A state jury deadlocked without reaching a verdict during a murder trial last year.
Slager who is white, pulled over Scott who was a black man, for a broken tail light, Scott ran from his parked car after a brief conversation with the officer. During the struggle that followed, Slager told investigators that Scott grabbed his Taser and tried to use it against him. Slager said that he fired in self-defense.
Cell phone video from bystander showed the stun gun hitting the ground as Scott ran from the fight. Slager said he did not realize that at the time. Slager fired off eight rounds towards Scott, five of them hit the fleeing man in the back.