He was a black man who was killed two years ago in North Charleston after a traffic stop.
In 2015, the "Black Lives Matter" movement was further sparked by a malicious killing of an unarmed black man. Fifty-year-old Walter Scott, who was a father of four children and served in the Coast Guard before being honorably discharged, was pulled over for a broken tail light by Officer Michael Slager.
A federal judge could sentence Scott to life in prison or hand him no jail time at all.
Slager will be sentenced at a later date.
Since Scott was obviously running away, it was perhaps the most shocking of all police shooting videos shown on television in the past few years.
A bystander videoed Slager shooting Scott multiple times as Scott again tried to run away following the altercation. State prosecutors are dropping the murder charge, according to a copy of the plea agreement obtained by the Associated Press.
The white cop who shot Walter Scott dead will plead guilty to violating his civil rights on Tuesday as part of a deal which will see the murder charge against him dropped.
"The defendant willfully used deadly force even though it was objectively unreasonable under the circumstances", said the Justice Department, while Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a statement of his own saying the DOJ would "hold accountable any law enforcement officer who violates the civil rights of our citizens by using excessive force". Prosecutors dropped state murder charges as part of the deal.
Michael Slager entered the plea Tuesday afternoon at the federal courthouse in Charleston during a 30 minute hearing.
Jurors failed to reach a verdict previous year in the murder case, which Wilson agreed to drop as part of Slager's plea on Tuesday. "The civil rights aspect of the killing of Walter Scott has always been important to the Scott family, to our community and to our nation".
In December, a lone jury member in the state case prevented a murder conviction, forcing the judge to declare a mistrial and plan for a new trial.
"Today he told the truth, he said he did it, and that's our victory and the healing starts today", Anthony Scott, Walter's brother, said afterward.
Rene Josey, a former U.S. Attorney in SC, now in private practice, said Slager likely wouldn't have entered his plea without some degree of certainty the government would be able to convict him. Slager shared his account of the shooting with SLED investigators before being made aware of the existence of an eyewitness video that differed greatly from what the officer had told agents.
One of the 12 jurors withheld their vote to convict Slager, leading to the mistrial.
Convictions of US police officers charged in on-duty fatal shootings are rare.
Scott's family later reached a $6.5 million settlement with the city of North Charleston.
Slager was also indicted previous year on charges of using a firearm in committing a crime of violence and obstructing justice. "They didn't get this type of justice that we got today", said Stewart, who represents the family of Alton Sterling, who was shot by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.