Michael Slager, ex-cop who shot Walter Scott, to plead guilty in civil rights case

A white former South Carolina police officer pleaded guilty Tuesday to violating the civil rights of Walter Scott, the unarmed black motorist he shot dead in 2015.

The state of South Carolina, as part of a plea deal, will not file new charges against Michael Slager, who was fired after cellphone footage of Scott's killing in North Charleston went viral. Slager's murder trial ended last December in a hung jury.

"The defendant used deadly force even though it was objectively unreasonable under the circumstances," the plea agreement says.

Related: Judge Declares Mistrial in Murder Trial of Former Cop Michael Slager

Outside the courthouse Tuesday, Scott's brother, Anthony, thanked federal prosecutors and said his family was grateful to have "justice."

"For me and my family, the healing starts today," Anthony Scott said, adding that Slager's guilty plea was a "victory" for his city, state, country and the world.

Walter Scott's mother, Judy, fought back tears as she told reporters she forgives Slager.

"I forgive Michael Slager because the forgiver is in me. That he [Slager] admitted he did it was enough years for me," she said.

Slager, 35, pulled over Scott on April 4, 2015, due to a broken taillight. Scott, 50, then ran from the traffic stop. The incident escalated, Slager has claimed, when Scott wrestled away the officer's Taser. Slager then fired his weapon as Scott ran away. Scott was struck five times in the back.

The defense in Slager's murder trial claimed the former North Charleston police department patrolman feared for his life and fired in self-defense. Scott's family has suggested he fled because he owed back child-support payments and did not want to be arrested.

RELATED: Photos from Walter Scott's funeral

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SUMMERVILLE, SC - APRIL 11: A young child walks among mourners as they attend the funeral service for Walter Scott at the W.O.R.D. Ministries Christian Center, after he was fatally shot by a North Charleston police officer after fleeing a traffic stop in North Charleston on April 11, 2015 in Summerville, South Carolina. Mr. Scott was killed on April 4 by North Charleston police officer Michael T. Slager after a traffic stop. The officer now faces murder charges. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
SUMMERVILLE, SC - APRIL 11: Judy Scott is greeted after the funeral for her son Walter Scott, at the W.O.R.D. Ministries Christian Center, after he was fatally shot by a North Charleston police officer after fleeing a traffic stop in North Charleston on April 11, 2015 in Summerville, South Carolina. Mr. Scott was killed on April 4 by North Charleston police officer Michael T. Slager after a traffic stop. The officer now faces murder charges. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
US Senator Tim Scott (R), R-SC, departs following the funeral of Walter Scott at WORD Ministries Christian Center in Summerville , South Carolina on April 11, 2015. Hundreds of mourners gathered Saturday for the funeral of Walter Scott, an unarmed black suspect who was shot dead by a white officer in South Carolina as he fled following a routine traffic stop. Scott's death, which a bystander caught on video, has reignited debates about excessive police force and race relations in the United States. Scott's body arrived, where family, friends, politicians and law enforcement gathered to bury the 50-year-old father of four. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - APRIL 10: A passer-by looks on at the site where Walter Scott was killed on April 4th by a North Charleston police officer on April 10, 2015 in North Charleston, South Carolina. Mr. Scott was killed by North Charleston police officer Michael T. Slager after a traffic stop and the officer now faces murder charges. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - APRIL 10: A memorial is seen through a fence marking the site where Walter Scott was killed on April 4th by a North Charleston police officer on April 10, 2015 in North Charleston, South Carolina. Mr. Scott was killed by North Charleston police officer Michael T. Slager after a traffic stop and the officer now faces murder charges. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Tiffany Williams (C), a childhood friend of Walter Scott, the 50-year-old man who was shot as he ran away from an officer after a traffic stop, is hugged by Project Street Outreach Manager Denise Cromwell, as she breaks down while visiting the spot where Scott was killed in Charleston, South Carolina on April 9, 2015. The shooting is America's latest high-profile police killing of a black man by white officers. A string of such shootings of unarmed victims, where officers are rarely charged, have sparked protests around the country with demonstrators alleging racism in the nation's police forces. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - APRIL 08: 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. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
After watching the video, the senseless shooting and taking of #WalterScott's life was absolutely unnecessary and avoidable. (1/2)
My heart aches for the family and our North Charleston community. I will be watching this case closely. (2/2)
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - APRIL 08: 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. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - APRIL 08: 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. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - APRIL 08: A family friend of Walter Scott, who was killed by police in a shooting, breaks down during a rally 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. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
Recap of the press conference: https://t.co/342hrODMkF #WalterScott
Officer Michael Slager fired 8 shots toward #WalterScott, Attorney says 4 hit him, 2 fatal: http://t.co/y8mqwG3zD6 http://t.co/LkwfB2SwQc
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - APRIL 08: 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. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - APRIL 08: 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. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
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Slager's federal trial was set to begin on May 15, and jury selection was slated to begin May 9.

The former officer pleaded guilty to violating Scott's civil rights by shooting him with no justification — formally known as deprivation of rights under color of law. The charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

"We hope that Michael's acceptance of responsibility will help the Scott family as they continue to grieve their loss," Slager's lawyer, Andy Savage, said in a statement. Sentencing has not yet been scheduled, Savage said.

Slager was also indicted last year on charges of using a firearm in committing a crime of violence and obstructing justice.

After the mistrial in December, state prosecutors said they would seek to try Slager again, but no charges had yet been filed.

The infamous cellphone video was viewed millions of times worldwide. It was recorded by bystander Feidin Santana, who revealed himself first to "NBC Nightly News" anchor Lester Holt.

The shooting itself heightened tension nationwide over alleged excessive use of force by law enforcement and systemic racism in policing.

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