Ex police officer Michael Slager was sentenced to 19 – 24 years in prison for the murder of Micheal Scott, then lying about events to cover the crime
Michael Slager, the ex-South Carolina cop who shot an unarmed black motorist in the back, killing him was sentenced to 19 to 24 years in prison on Thursday in the shooting death of Walter Scott, who was struck in the back while running from a traffic stop.
A federal judge ruled that Slager committed second-degree murder and obstruction of justice.
Earlier on May 2, the ex-cop plead guilty to a civil rights charge. He admitted to violating Scott’s rights under the color of the law, one of the most serious charges he faced. He admitted to shooting Walter Scott without justification.
First time lucky: State prosecutors flubbed their charges and Slager [right], walked out a free man last year from the Charleston courthouse, following a mistrial caused by a hung jury
The incredibly disquieting cellphone video was shared widely on social media after the fatal shooting, and the graphic footage again was on display during the sentencing hearing in Charleston.
Slager earlier pled guilty in federal court in May to violating Scott’s civil rights by shooting him without justification.
The events leading to the trial unfolded when the former officer pulled Scott over on April 4, 2015, for a broken brake light. The incident ended with Slager shooting the 50-year-old man in ‘self-defense’, after Scott tried to grab his Taser, according to Slager’s report.
The cellphone video shows Scott getting about 17 feet from Slager before the officer fires at him eight times. Scott was hit five times in the back.
Walter Scott was fatally shot, in the back, by officer Michael Slager, after a traffic stop in Charleston, South Carolina, on April 4 2015
Defense lawyers say Slager has accepted responsibility for the shooting.
“There’s nothing in Michael Slager’s background, from birth to today, of any racial animus or any harassment of minority members of the community,” lawyer Andy Savage said.
A state criminal trial for Slager in 2016 had resulted in a hung jury, but federal prosecutors in South Carolina retried the case in 2017.
The conclusion brought closure to the victim’s family as the Scott family lawyer Justin Bamberg said: “I think everybody’s just ready to close this chapter of life and start the next chapter,” Bamberg said.
“But all of them end the same way, and that is that Walter’s not here.”
A bystander captured Slager on video shooting the fleeing Scott in the back on a cellphone camera
The North Charleston police officer was captured on video shooting at Scott, 50, striking him five times. Scott was running away from Slager after a traffic stop for a broken brake light.
Slager pulled over Scott’s car on April 4, 2015, for a bad brake light. A cellphone video showed how the North Charleston patrolman shot Scott in the back as the 50-year-old ran away.
The defendant told investigators that Scott had taken his Taser during a fight that was not photographed, which prompted his gunfire in self-defense. However, the video shot by the bystander shows Scott running while Slager fires at him eight times with five of the bullets hitting Scott.
For his second trial, Slager faced charges that include lying to investigators and using a firearm in a violent crime.
When the former South Carolina police officer pled guilty to the federal charge in May prosecutors have agreed to drop state murder charges against him for the April 2015 shooting of Walter Scott. In copping to violating Scott’s rights under the color of the law, he was in essence admitting to one of the most serious charges he faced.