Slager to have murder charge dropped as part of federal guilty plea

Michael Slager

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Former South Carolina police officer Michael Slager is pleading guilty to violating the civil rights of an unarmed black motorist he shot and killed as he ran from a 2015 traffic stop.

A copy of the plea agreement obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday also shows state prosecutors are dropping a pending murder charge against Slager.

The AP obtained the agreement from a lawyer familiar with the case who didn’t want to talk publicly before it was finalized.

Slager was scheduled to appear in federal court Tuesday for motions ahead of his federal trial planned for later this month in the death of Walter Scott.

A bystander captured Scott’s shooting on cellphone video, viewed millions of times.

Slager’s first trial on state murder charges ended in a hung jury.

On the stand, Slager argued self-defense, saying he shot Scott as he ran away because Scott posed a threat and could have turned around and charged him.

One of the key pieces of evidence in the trial was a cell-phone video of the altercation.

In the video, Slager is seen chasing Scott, then shooting him in the back.

Prosecutors said the two were 18 feet apart when Slager opened fire.