A federal grand jury indicted former North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer Michael Slager on civil rights charges for killing Walter Scott.
On April 4, 2015, Slager fatally shot Scott, an unarmed Black man who ran away during a traffic stop. Slager told officials that he shot Scott after the man attempted to take his weapon, but bystander video revealed that Slager fired at the 50-year-old man’s back eight times before planting his Taser near his body.
Slager is currently on house arrest as he awaits a murder trial in state court. Now NPR reports that the grand jury indicted him on three counts: “charges for a federal civil rights offense, using a firearm during the commission of a civil rights offense and obstruction of justice.”
Following the release of the charges yesterday (May 11), the U.S. Department of Justice issued a statement saying that Slager could see a maximum sentence of life in prison plus a fine of $250,000. The statement further explains the charges as follows:
The indictment alleges that Michael Slager, while acting as [a North Charleston Police Department] officer, used excessive force when he shot and killed Walter Scott without legal justification. Slager was also charged with obstruction of justice for making false statements to South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) investigators with the intent to impede the investigation into the shooting. The indictment alleges that Slager intentionally misled SLED investigators by claiming that Scott was coming toward him with a Taser at the time that Slager fired his weapon, when in truth, Scott was running away.
The full indictment is available here, via NPR.