Sen. Tim Scott said Wednesday that he was relieved to see a guilty plea from a white, former North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer who was videotaped killing a fleeing, unarmed black man.
The 12-page guilty plea by Michael Slager was announced Tuesday afternoon following lengthy negotiations.
“While there is absolutely nothing that can be done to ease the pain of losing a loved one in such a senseless and infuriating manner, I was relieved to see that a guilty plea was officially filed in the case,” Scott said in a statement.
Slager was caught on an eyewitness video, shooting Walter Scott after initially stopping Scott’s car for a broken brake light. Slager could face a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine for pleading guilty to violating a federal civil rights law, according to the Department of Justice.
After a failed attempt to incapacitate Walter Scott with a taser, Slager fired eight shots, five of which hit Walter Scott in the back and ultimately killed him, according to the DOJ, which referred to the escalation as “objectively unreasonable under the circumstances.”
In the past, Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, has given personal speeches on the Senate floor describing his frustrating experiences with law enforcement stopping him for unclear reasons. He’s also pushed for more police body cameras.
Scott saw the plea deal as the start of healing for Walter Scott’s family and community.
“The Scott family has been patiently waiting for this day. A day that would bring them justice and closure after months of feeling so much pain and anguish. They were relying on the judicial system and I’m thankful for the outcome thus far,” Scott said.
Sen. Scott is not related to Walter Scott’s family.