Former North Charleston, South Carolina, Police Officer Michael Slager Charged with Federal Civil Rights Offense
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division, and U. S. Attorney Bill Nettles of the District of South Carolina announced today that a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment charging former North Charleston, South Carolina, Police Department (NCPD) Officer Michael Slager with federal offenses related to his fatal shooting of Walter Scott on April 4, 2015. The indictment includes charges for a federal civil rights offense, using a firearm during the commission of the civil rights offense and obstruction of justice.
The indictment alleges that Michael Slager, while acting as an NCPD 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.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Slager faces a maximum sentence of 1ife in prison for the civil rights violation, as well as a potential $250,000 fine.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Columbia Division and SLED. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Klumb of the District of South Carolina and Trial Attorney Jared Fishman of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section.