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Former North Charleston officer loses appeal over shooting conviction

This May 2017 mugshot of Michael Slager was taken after he pleaded guilty to use of excessive force ahead of his federal trial in Charleston related to Walter Scott's death. (Charleston County Detention Center)

An appellate court has upheld the conviction and 20-year sentence of a white former South Carolina policeman for the shooting death of an unarmed black man who was running away from a traffic stop.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals made that determination Tuesday in the case of former North Charleston officer Michael Slager.

U.S. District Judge David Norton sentenced Slager in 2017 after the ex-officer pleaded guilty to a civil rights violation in the 2015 shooting death of Walter Scott, who ran from Slager after a traffic stop.

Slager's lawyers said the officer made the initial decision to shoot and defend himself but got carried away. Slager was tried for murder in state court, but it ended in a mistrial when a jury couldn't agree whether he had committed a crime.

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