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Walter Scott's Killer Sentenced to Prison in "Historic" Ruling

08 December 2017, 09:08 | Glen Norman

Walter Scott's Killer Sentenced to Prison in "Historic" Ruling

Walter during a news conference after former police officer Michael Slager was sentenced to 20 years in prison

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - A white former SC police officer committed second-degree murder when he shot an unarmed black motorist to death and should expect to spend about two decades in prison, a judge said Thursday as he prepared to sentence the ex-officer for a federal civil rights violation.

A white former U.S. police officer was sentenced to 20 years in prison Thursday over the fatal shooting of an unarmed black motorist. The video also shows Slager dropping an object next to Scott's body after the shooting, which prosecutors argued was proof that Slager planted evidence on Scott. However, cell phone video recorded by bystander Feiden Santana showed Scott turning around to run away as the stun gun landed on the ground behind the officer.

The death of Walter Scott in April 2015 was one of the most shocking in a series of high-profile U.S. police shootings, often involving minorities, that have deepened tensions and added to distrust between officers and the communities they serve.

At one point during the sentencing Scott's mother looked the former officer in the eye and told him she forgave him.

Slager was swiftly fired and arrested, and the city of North Charleston agreed to a $6.5 million settlement with Scott's family. "That was enough years for me, because no matter how many years Michael Slager gets, it would not bring back my son".

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Although the sentence fell short of what prosecutors had sought, the fact that Slager was convicted of any crime at all in the case made it a milestone in the national debate about police conduct. "I pray for you, that you would repent and let Jesus come in your life".

A defense attorney says a white former SC law officer should be sentenced on the low end of guidelines being considered by a federal judge.

During tearful statements in court, several members of Scott's family said they forgave the officer and were praying for him.

"This is a tragedy that shouldn't have happened", US District Judge David Norton said.

Slaged pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights offense.

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"If you met him, you would like him", she said.

Scott's brother, Anthony Scott, said it was tougher for him.

After the shooting, Slager picked up his stun gun and placed it next to Scott.

For three days, attorneys representing the federal government and a former SC officer charged in an unarmed black motorist's shooting death have presented technical testimony to a judge considering how much time Michael Slager should spend in federal prison.

Slager fired at Scott's back from 17 feet (5 meters) away.

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Scott, who was 50 at the time of his death, served two years with the U.S. Coast Guard Yard at Curtis Bay south of Baltimore, Maryland.



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