CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) The son of a black motorist who was shot to death by a white former police officer asked a judge Wednesday to hand down the stiffest sentence possible: life in prison.
The sentencing hearing for ex-officer Michael Slager opened up with his attorneys playing cellphone and dashcam video that showed the traffic stop and the shooting itself.
"My dad will never see my future kids, his grandchildren, and I know he would have loved them as much as he loved me", Miles Scott said in a slow, soft voice.
Slager pleaded guilty in May to violating Scott's rights under the color of the law after a judge declared a mistrial for his murder charge on the state level. Federal officials have recommended 10 to almost 13 years in prison, but his attorneys argue the 36-year-old Slager should face far less time.
U.S. District Judge David Norton could hand down the sentence this week. "It is time to call the shooting of Walter Scott what it was: It was a murder". Cellphone video of the shooting was shared widely on social media in the days after the shooting, and it has taken center stage once again at the sentencing hearing.
The defense said that North Charleston's homicide rates have gone up following the possible chilling effect of Slager's 2016 state murder charges.
However, Savage said his client believed that Scott could have been armed based on the fact that he fled from the traffic stop which was initiated by a broken brake light on Scott's vehicle. After deploying his stun gun, Slager fired eight bullets at Scott as he ran away, hitting him five times in the back.
Imel, an Federal Bureau of Investigation video expert, also took the stand, showcasing how far away Scott was when Slager fired each shot on the cell phone video.
Both prosecutors and defense attorneys have had their own experts give their opinions on who had Slager's taser before the shooting.
During closing arguments, prosecutor Jared Fishman disputed that story.
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This is the third day of sentencing for Michael Slager. "He was not in the throes of passion".
In addition, Savage said that an incomplete statement is not a lie when it came to Slager's account of what happened on the day of the shooting. "This is a concerted, deliberate effort to obstruct justice and to cover up for his unjustified shooting".
Wednesday's hearing began with the prosecution cross examining forensic psychiatrist Charles Morgan III. Morgan said he felt that Slager had an above-average tolerance for stress and didn't diagnose him with any disorder related to memory loss.
In the dashcam video, Slager is asking Scott questions about insurance and vehicle ownership.
After he left, the defense lawyers called as a witness retired North Charleston police Lt. Wade Humphries, who testified Slager was "the one we would count on to get the job done.my go-to guy".
Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said she had interacted with federal prosecutors but couldn't recall specific contacts and hadn't planned prosecutorial decisions with them.
The defense had their video and audio experts take the stand and speak about the traffic stop on Scott and the cell phone video of the shooting. Grant Fredericks, a forensic video expert, testified that his analysis showed Slager fought with Scott before their fatal encounter and the ex-officer said: "Let go of my Taser before I shoot you".
Savage has claimed that state and federal prosecutors teamed up to go after Slager together.
The defense testimony is meant to show Judge Norton that Scott contributed to his own death by resisting arrest and fighting with Slager.
The defense is arguing that Scott grabbed Slager's stun gun and had an altercation with him on the ground, which can not be clearly seen in the bystander's video.
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