A federal court on Tuesday rejected an appeal by a former North Charleston police officer in prison for shooting a fleeing man after a traffic stop struggle.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of Michael Slager, who is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for killing Walter Scott in the April 2015 incident. Scott had run after Slager pulled him over for a broken tail light but the officer caught up to him in a vacant lot. Slager maintained he shot Scott in self-defense after the other man grabbed his Taser. However, a bystander’s cell phone video showed Slager firing multiple times as Scott tried to run, Taser on the ground between them.
Slager ultimately pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights violation in 2017 after a jury deadlocked on his state murder charges. His other lying and weapon charges were dropped as part of the plea.
An attorney representing Slager — who is now in a Colorado prison — argued a lower judge acted improperly by consulting his pathologist wife about an autopsy result and by concluding Slager was guilty of murder instead of manslaughter.