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Walter Scott Shooting: South Carolina Police Officer Won't Face the Death Penalty for Fatally Shooting Unarmed Black Man

First Posted: Apr 13, 2015 05:07 PM EDT
Walter Scott

Photo : YouTube

A local newspaper reports that the South Carolina police officer charged with murder for fatally shooting an unarmed black man in the back will not face the death penalty.

The Post and Courier newspaper reported on Monday that Officer Michael Slager will not face the death penalty if convicted of the killing, which was caught on camera by a bystander.

In the video, 50-year-old Walter Lamar Scott is seen running for his life while Officer Slager, 33, fires eight shots, fatally striking him in the back. The incident began on April 4 when Slager pulled Scott over during a traffic stop in North Charleston. Raw video from the cop's dash cam shows that Scott ran away on foot while Slager was looking up his information, reports CNN.

After chasing Scott down, Slager stated in a police report that Scott tried to take his stun gun during a struggle. However, contrary to the report, witness Feidin Santana says that Scott did not try to grab the officer's Taser, and that Scott was trying to get away.

According to a local prosecutor, the state will not seek the death penalty against the cop because none of the 22 "aggravating circumstances" that allow state lawyers to seek lethal punishment are applicable in the case.

"There are aggravating circumstances which can take a murder case from being a maximum of life to death being the maximum sentence. None of those factors are present in this case," Scarlett Wilson, Charleston County's chief prosecutor, told the Charleston newspaper.

Instead, he will face 30 years to life in prison if he is found guilty, the newspaper reported.

Following the release of the video footage, Slager was fired from his position last week and charged with murder. The former cop is currently being held at the Charleston County jail.

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