Ex-policeman faces 20 years in prison for Scott slaying

Ruben Ruiz
December 8, 2017

The former SC police officer who shot and killed Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, following a traffic stop was sentenced Thursday to 20 years behind bars in a federal case stemming from the shooting.

Judy Scott on turned toward Slager on Thursday and said her faith in God gives her the ability to forgive him for killing her son. Norton found Slager obstructed justice by lying about what happened.

A federal judge handed down the sentence for Michael Slager on Thursday. (In a presentencing memo, Slager's lawyers even cited Jeff Sessions' memory lapses while under oath to justify discrepancies in Slager's accounts.) Prosecutors, meanwhile, argued that Slager's choice to shoot a fleeing man showed malicious intent and warranted a punishment of life in prison.

Slager could have faced a life sentence, but prosecutors also said as part of the plea deal that they would recommend that his sentence be reduced due to his "acceptance of responsibility".

Slager stopped Scott's auto for a broken brake light in North Charleston in April 2015.

Norton's sentence later Thursday will bring to an end one of the most notorious criminal cases in modern S.C. history, a case that attracted worldwide attention after a bystander's video of Scott's fatal shooting went viral on the Internet.

Officers are rarely charged for deadly on-duty shootings, though that number has increased in recent years amid intense scrutiny and protests that have broken out across the country.

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David Harris, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh and an expert on police use of force, said this standard tends to favor police. The two scuffled and Slager opened fire as Scott was running away, hitting him five times in the back.

"I wish I could go back in time to change the events".

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.

In a wrought courtroom scene, Scott's mother, Judy, told Slager that she forgives him for her son's killing. Morgan said Tuesday that his analysis of Slager showed a non-impulsive person who was "high in what we call conscientiousness".

While that case was ongoing, federal authorities pursued a parallel investigation against Slager on civil rights charges. In this case, the abuse was the killing of Scott.

The judge's decision comes after Slager, who is white, pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights offense. In return, state murder charges were dropped. The state retrial and federal trial were expected to take place this year, but instead, in May Slager pleaded guilty to violating Scott's civil rights in federal court, ending the federal case against him and also resolving the state charges that were pending after the mistrial.

In April 2015, Slager pulled Scott over during a routine traffic stop, and Scott ran from the police officer. When Slager goes back to his patrol vehicle, Scott opens the door and runs. The officer has said he shot Scott in self-defense after fearing for his own life when the man grabbed the weapon and turned it toward him. He broke down the cell phone video frame by frame and explained that he could see that there was a fight between Scott and Slager, when they were on the ground.

Other reports by GizPress

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