The ruling by USA district court judge David Norton at a federal hearing addressed the underlying offense against Michael Slager, 36, for violating Scott's civil rights during a 2015 shooting. In sentencing Slager, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to a federal civil rights violation, the judge ruled Thursday that he committed second-degree murder and obstruction of justice.
The defense is arguing that Scott grabbed Slager's stun gun and had an altercation with him on the ground, which can not be clearly seen in the bystander's video.
Slager stopped the auto Scott was driving for a broken rear brake light in North Charleston in April 2015.
A judge is deciding whether Scott's shooting was murder or manslaughter.
Prosecutor Jared Fishman said Scott's killing was a murder.
A pre-sentencing report for Slager found that he committed manslaughter and recommended 10 to almost 13 years in prison.
Scott family lawyer Justin Bamberg said: 'I think everybody's just ready to close this chapter of life and start the next chapter.
Court will reconvene Thursday morning at 10 a.m.
Slager's attorney, Andy Savage of Charleston, introduced evidence during the hearing to contend that Scott had resisted arrest and posed a threat to the officer in the seconds before the shooting. Scott jumped out of the auto and ran. Hit five times in the back, Scott crumples to the ground, falling facedown.
The federal prosecution hammered in the fact that Scott was running away when the first shot was sacked and continued to run away until he fell. A bystander caught the shooting on video.
After the shooting, Slager picked up his stun gun and placed it next to Scott.
During his state trial a year ago, Slager testified that he feared for his life when Scott grabbed for his weapon and charged at him.
Anthony Imel, an Federal Bureau of Investigation expert specializing in audio and video analysis, testified Monday how he enhanced Santana's video to highlight where Slager's stun gun lay, on the ground, several feet behind the officer as he ran after and shot Scott.
A 3-D expert testified for the defense that the taser could've landed behind Slager because Scott threw it there, or it fell and bounced behind him.
State prosecutors had tried Slager for murder last fall, but the judge declared a mistrial after a mostly white jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict-either on the charge of murder or a lesser manslaughter charge.