Why is it hard to convict a police officer of murder?
The answers are simple, they’re just hard to accept.
On duty a police officer can make a rapid decision and use deadly force, but that doesn’t mean the trigger was pulled with intentions to commit a crime. The absence of malicious intent reduces murder to manslaughter.
Sometimes, in high profile cases, the prosecution charged murder when they should have charged manslaughter. A lot of times the prosecution can’t secure a conviction due to insufficient evidence, but in the trial of Michael Slager, the former police officer who shot Walter Scott multiple times in his back, the prosecution had overwhelming evidence for a conviction.
Michael Slager’s defense said Slager and Walter Scott scuffled over Slager’s Taser and Slager feared for his life, but the shooting didn’t occur during the scuffle, it happened while Walter Scott ran away without the taser.
The prosecution had witnesses from the police department. These officers were asked about their training. One explained there are six levels of force they are allowed to use and the sixth is deadly force.