Judge weighs 2 decades in prison for ex-cop's fatal shooting

Walter Scott's son reads impact statement at sentencing of police officer who killed his father

Sentencing phase begins in SC police shooting

The ruling by USA district court judge David Norton at a federal hearing addressed the underlying offense against Michael Slager, 36, for violating Scott's civil rights during a 2015 shooting. Slager was set to stand for retrials, on both the state and federal levels, when he pleaded guilty to the federal offense of violating Scott's civil rights in May of this year. There was a tasering and a tussle, and when the unarmed Scott managed to run away, Slager fired eight shots from behind, killing him.

Slager stopped the auto Scott was driving for a broken rear brake light in North Charleston in April 2015.

Judge Norton, according to Burr, said that no matter what sentence he hands down, the Scott family and Slager family won't like it.

Norton also said he found Scott did not sufficiently provoke Slager to justify Slager shooting him. The defense argued for a lenient sentence, claiming that Scott had resisted and grabbed the Taser and that Slager had feared for his life.

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Court will reconvene Thursday morning at 10 a.m.

The federal prosecution hammered in the fact that Scott was running away when the first shot was sacked and continued to run away until he fell. Prosecutors have supported the murder finding, which would expose Slager to up to life in prison.

During the sentencing hearing, defense attorney Andy Savage said Slager has accepted responsibility for his actions, and there is no question what Slager did was a criminal violation and excessive force was used in the incident. Scott jumped out of the vehicle and ran.

Slager faced murder charges in state court, but a jury in that case deadlocked previous year, and the charges were dropped as part of his federal plea deal. Scott was hit in the back five times.

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This week, federal prosecutors and Slager's lawyers have called witnesses to testify about technical aspects of the case, including what happened to Slager's stun gun before the shooting. A bystander caught the shooting on video.

Scott's mother has said she forgives the officer.

Scott's older brother, Anthony, told the court he'd become depressed after the shooting and that he was probably the last in his family to be able to forgive Slager. And, Norton said, Slager obstructed justice by his inaccurate statements to law enforcement after the shooting. Slager contends he was securing the weapon. Last year, Scott's relatives reached a $6.5 million settlement with the city of North Charleston.

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