Former South Carolina police officer Michael Slager is going to have 20 years to think about taking the life of unarmed man Walter Scott. A judge reportedly handed the sentence Thursday (December 7) to have Slager spend the next two decades in a federal prison.
After months of anticipation, the sentence finally arrived this week in Charleston’s Federal District Court.
Michael T. Slager, the white police officer whose video-recorded killing of an unarmed black motorist in North Charleston, S.C., starkly illustrated the turmoil over racial bias in American policing, was sentenced on Thursday to 20 years in prison, after the judge in the case ruled that the shooting had been a murder. The sentence was pronounced in Federal District Court in Charleston about seven months after Mr. Slager pleaded guilty to violating the civil rights of Walter L. Scott when he shot and killed him in April 2015. It concluded one of the few cases in which a police officer has been prosecuted for an on-duty shooting. (New York Times)
Scott’s brother has come forward to speak out on the headline-generating sentence.
Scott’s family has repeatedly expressed forgiveness to Slager, who said that he was thankful for that. But the victim’s relatives were glad to see the officer held accountable. “We are hurt,” said Anthony Scott, Walter’s brother, “and we do have some type of passion for the Slager family, in that they have to suffer as well. And we do forgive Michael Slager for what he did. But yes, we did want justice for my brother, and we feel that we have gotten a sense of justice.” (CNN)
Despite initially claiming self-defense, witness footage ultimately proved Slager killed an unarmed Scott in his back.
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. (ABC News)
South Carolina native and radio personality Charlamagne Tha God has weighed-in on the sentence.