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Former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager listens as Judge Clifton Newman declares a mistrial at the Charleston County court in Charleston, S.C., December 5, 2016. Judge Clifton Newman declared a mistrial after the jury was unable to reach a verdict. Slager was accused of shooting and killing Walter Scott, an unarmed black man during a traffic stop in April 2015. (Grace Beahm – Pool/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, S.C. — Fired North Charleston Police officer Michael Slager pleaded guilty Tuesday to violating the civil rights of an unarmed black motorist he shot in back.
The death of Walter Scott was seen worldwide after a bystander recorded it on his cellphone.
Slager likely faces prison under the terms of his plea deal with prosecutors.
He spoke little on Tuesday, except to quietly answer the judge’s questions.
Several of Scott’s relatives sat on the front row in the courtroom gallery as the prosecutor read a bare-bones description of the shooting. One of them closed his eyes tightly while another hung his head.
Slager has been out on bond for much of the time since the shooting, but now that he’s guilty, he was handcuffed by a federal marshal and led from the courtroom as Scott’s family looked on.
People participate in a rally to protest the death of Walter Scott, who was killed by police in a shooting, outside City Hall on April 8, 2015 in North Charleston, South Carolina. Video captured by a bystander showed officer Michael Slager shooting Scott as he ran away. Officer Slager has been charged with murder as a result of the incident. (Richard Ellis/Getty Images)