The Charleston Post and Courier reports that Michael Slager, a former North Charleston police officer who shot and killed Walter Scott in 2015, pleaded guilty this week to a federal criminal charge of deprivation of rights under the color of law. The incident involving Slager and Scott was captured on video which appeared to show Slager shooting at Scott’s back after a scuffle. As the News Roundup previously noted, a homicide case against Slager ended in a mistrial late last year. As part of the plea deal, other state and federal charges pending against Slager will be dismissed. Keep reading for more news.
No Charges in Sterling Shooting. The Justice Department announced this week that two Louisiana police officers who were involved in the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge last year will not face federal charges. A decision has not been made on whether the officers will be prosecuted on state charges. The shooting sparked protests in the city and may have motivated St. Louis resident Gavin Eugene Long to shoot six Baton Rouge police officers, killing three, in a possible retaliatory attack. USA Today has the story here.
Raleigh PD & Nonprofits Combat Overdoses. WRAL reports that the Raleigh Police Department has partnered with two nonprofit groups to form a “Hope Squad” to respond to drug overdoses. Under the partnership, a few days after an overdose is reported through 911, a three-person team comprised of an officer and two recovery experts is dispatched to the survivor to provide overdose protection information and recovery coaching. Community response to the Hope Squad has been positive according to the report.
Derogatory Ditty Dustup. News outlets around the Triangle have been covering “a Facebook rumor” that employees at a Smithfield Chicken n’ Bar-B-Q restaurant sang the NWA song “F- the Police” while Raleigh officers were in the restaurant last week. In true Facebook rumor fashion, the controversy apparently is based on “misinformation and misunderstanding,” as it appears that one employee may have silently mouthed the words of the song and that there was no singing or involvement by other employees. According to WRAL, Florida attorney Mark O’Mara, best known for representing George Zimmerman, is representing the owner of the restaurant.
Kennedy Watch. Speaking of rumors, a variety of news outlets are reporting that there is rampant speculation that Justice Anthony Kennedy will retire from the U.S. Supreme Court in the relatively near future. The Associated Press has the story here.
Miller Documentary. Readers of this blog probably know that the U.S. Supreme Court held in Miller v. Alabama that a sentencing scheme is unconstitutional if it mandates life without parole for a defendant who was under 18 years of age at the time of his or her crime. This week, PBS’s Frontline premiered Second Chance Kids, a documentary that “follows the cases of two of the first juvenile lifers in the country to seek parole following the landmark ruling.” More information about the documentary is available here.
SWAT Team Featured in Music Video. The News & Observer reports that a North Carolina SWAT team is being featured in rapper J. Cole’s new music video for his song “Neighbors.” In 2016, the SWAT team raided a North Carolina home that was being used by Cole as a recording studio, and, according to a music producer with knowledge of the situation, a place where folks would sit “outside on the porch smoking weed.” The music video is available at the N&O link.