Officer who killed Walter Scott gets 20-year sentence

Officer who killed Walter Scott gets 20-year sentence

A white former police officer says he is grateful for the forgiveness from the family of a black man that he shot to death.

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. 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. Slager was consequentially let go from the North Charleston Police Department for the 2015 killing.

Newsweek reports prior to Thursday, the 2009 convictions of three cops marked the most recent instance in which the justice system held cops accountable for killing an unarmed Black person. "I'm not angry at you, Michael", he said in court.

Attorneys for ex-North Charleston Officer Michael Slager said he shot 50-year-old Walter Scott in self-defense after the two fought and Scott grabbed Slager's stun gun.

Scott, who was wanted for unpaid child support, was filmed by a police dashcam breaking free from Slager's grasp and running directly away from him.

SC has been aggressive in charging white officers who shoot unarmed black people. In exchange for the plea, the local prosecutor agreed to drop the murder charge against him.

The officer, who was sacked after the shooting, "acted out of malice aforethought, shooting dead an unarmed and fleeing Walter Scott", Judge David Norton said Thursday.

Relatives of the victim said Thursday they forgave Slager, despite their grief.

A bystander recorded the shooting on a cellphone, and it was shared around the world, setting off protests across the U.S.as demonstrators said it was another egregious example of police officers mistreating African-Americans.

Slaged pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights offense. "Michael, I forgive you, and Michael, I do pray for you now and for your family, because we've gone through a traumatic time", said Scott's brother Anthony.

The judge also found that Slager, 36, obstructed justice when he made statements to state police after the shooting. "My heart breaks that things can not be changed", she said.

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. But video footage of the incident taken by a witness shows Slager shooting Scott in the back as he sprinted away from the officer.

Scott's death was among a number of killings that has provoked nationwide debate about law enforcement's use of lethal force, particularly in cases involving black males.

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