World News

Former cop who shot unarmed black man gets 20 years in prison

Former cop who shot unarmed black man gets 20 years in prison

The conviction of a former SC cop has finally disrupted the devastating pattern of the unrebuked killings of Black men by police.

The white North Charleston, South Carolina police officer who shot and killed an unarmed African-American Coast Guard vet in April 2015 was sentenced to 20 years in prison on December 7, the New York Times reports.Officer Michael Slager, 36, shot and killed Walter Scott when the latter exited his vehicle and fled on foot during a daytime traffic stop.

That includes use of Slager's stun gun, which the former officer says Walter Scott grabbed and turned on him, causing Slager to fear for his life and shoot in self-defense. But video footage later showed Scott posed no threat given the 50-year-old was seen running in the opposite direction of the ex-cop. Michael Slager's case is a rare conviction in numerous prosecutions of police officers who have shot and killed unarmed African-Americans.

At one point during the sentencing Scott's mother looked the former officer in the eye and told him she forgave him. "That was enough years for me, because no matter how many years Michael Slager gets, it would not bring back my son".

"I wish I could go back in time to change the event, but I can't", Slager said to the court before he was sentenced.

A state murder trial ended last December with a hung jury, and state prosecutors dropped the murder case in exchange for the plea on the federal charge.

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The judge agreed with prosecutors who argued at Slager's sentencing hearing this week that he showed malice and calculation in the April 2015 shooting.

A federal judge has ruled that a former SC officer committed second-degree murder when he shot an unarmed black motorist to death. U.S. District Judge David Norton also ordered mental counseling and treatment for the 36-year-old father. It concluded one of the few cases in which a police officer has been prosecuted for an on-duty shooting.

Slager had claimed that Scott had wrested his stun gun from him, and that he fired his gun in self-defense.

"I think it must be something else to why they would not release that", Anthony Scott said while walking back to his hotel after the sentencing. But after the shooting, the Scott family successfully pleaded for calm, asking everyone to let the justice system run its course. "I want you to know that he is a very good person and we all love him very, very much".

Norton also said Slager obstructed justice when he made statements to state police after the shooting. God gave forgiveness in my heart for Officer Slager.

On Thursday, attorneys are expected to call friends and relatives of both men who'll tell the judge how Scott's death and the officer's arrest have affected their lives.


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