Former South Carolina police officer Michael Slager was sentenced today to 20 years in prison for the deadly shooting of unarmed black man Walter Scott.
U.S. District Judge David Norton ruled that Slager committed second-degree murder and obstruction of justice, when he shot and killed 50-year-old Scott in 2015. The second-degree murder ruling came with a recommended 19 to 24 year sentence.
At one point during the sentencing Scott’s mother looked the former officer in the eye and told him she forgave him. Families on both sides of the court burst into tears.
One of Walter Scott’s brothers, Rodney Scott, told the court that the death of his brother the worst day of his life. Rodney Scott said he wants Slager to pay for his actions.
Slager’s father, mother, sister and wife also spoke to the judge, begging for a lighter sentence. They talked about how Slager led a life of service and how upset they were after the shooting. Michael Slager’s wife, Jamie Slager, told the judge, “He had to make a decision in a split second. I couldn’t imagine having to make a decision that fast.”
The judge’s decision comes after Michael Slager, who is white, pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights offense.
Michael Slager shot and killed Walter Scott on April 4, 2015, while Slager was an officer with the North Charleston Police Department. Michael Slager claimed self-defense, but witness cellphone video that surfaced shortly after the encounter showed the officer fatally shooting Walter Scott in the back as he ran away. He was fired from the force after the shooting.
Michael Slager was charged in South Carolina with murder and pleaded not guilty. During the state murder trial, Michael Slager’s attorney said his client shot Walter Scott because he was in fear for his life. In 2016, the case ended in a mistrial. The state retrial and federal trial were expected to take place this year, but instead, in May Michael Slager pleaded guilty to violating Walter 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.
Before hearing his sentence in federal court, Michael Slager called each family member out by name and apologized, thanking them for forgiving him. “I wish this never would have happened,” he said. “I wish I could go back to the day and change the events, but I can’t.”
At a news conference after the sentencing, Rodney Scott said his family is “pleased.”
“We got justice,” he said.
im_not_my_real_dad: Good. I remember seeing this video and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Fully an execution by a police officer of a citizen. There would be no justice in America if this didnt end this way
Shitty_Human_Being: What is it with American news sites having videos autoplay on full blast? I came here to read the article, not shit my pants.
This was the one where he drops the gun on him after he’s dead. This scum is getting off too easy, but it’s better than nothing.
Friendship_Fries: Another injustice was Scott was only fleeing because of an arrest warrant issued due to missed child support payments in 2013. This issue should be taken care of civilly and not criminally. Arresting and imprisoning people for having a debt is ludicrous.
donaldfranklinhornii: Wow. I did not think they would do convict him. Good job South Carolina!
mrsataan: What’s interesting is that a shooting like this was horrific to some but not surprising to others.
Rappers have been rapping about this for years. Black comedians have been making jokes about this for years.
Black actors/actresses/directors have been making skits & movies about this for years
….and it still took a federal court to convict this monster.
Cock_Johnson_: >Slater’s wife cried uncontrollably
Wow it’s cool that A.C. Slater grew up and got married!
For real though who wrote this trash?
hurt_ur_feelings: Justice served! Hopefully more closer to 24!
lizard450: Wow. This and Sean Groubert was sentenced to 12 years (granted a lot of it is suspended or something). South Carolina really is leading the way in police accountability.
Credit where credit is due… Cali does typically give jail time to cops to murder people, but the sentences are usually extremely light.
extracanadian: Ohh I remember that video. Fuck that cop. Absolutely gunned the guy down then planted a gun if I recall. Ballsy cameraman too, good for him.
novaquasarsuper: That’s not enough time. He should die in prison.
Sneaky_Reddit_Lurker: I know someone who can give him some advice for his stint.
wonder-maker: I hope he enjoys general population.
beernsleep: Sweet. He’ll get killed in prison.
sennhauser: Makes you wonder how often this happens where officers place guns on people after shooting them
_Mr-Skeltal_: Oh god, another cop shooting unarmed citizens… I thought this was the Minnesota black guy in his car.
These shootings are just horrific. It just blows my mind. Cops gunning down innocent citizens. This is singularly the worst possible thing that our government can do.
Frankly I think the department needs to be held accountable, too, with his supervisors and maybe the department captain terminated, unless this was just out of the blue.
Walter Scott’s mother is a greater person than I am.. I don’t know how I could forgive someone for my child being killed like this.
I’m also amazed a bystander was able to get those photos… I would be in fear of my life with a cop shooting anything that moves like this.
I_am_not_hon_jawley: Wow you never see this sort of thing. I wonder how pissed r/protectandserve is.
Taser-Face: Yeah but doesn’t it just boil down to a handful of years really?
yakkamah: Hopefully this can be a turning point for our police in this country. It’s horrible what the officer has done but I don’t blame him fully, I blame our training process of police in this country the most.
TenSevenTN: See, the system works when an officer ACTUALLY murders somebody.