Ex-cop gets 20 years in prison for shooting

Sergio Conner
December 8, 2017

Michael Slager, a white officer in SC, was filmed shooting 50-year-old Walter Scott as he fled after Slager stopped him for having a broken brake light in April 2015.

Dixon, a former Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, is one of the many voices in the African-American community calling for a release of Department of Justice findings from a review of the North Charleston Police Department conducted after the Scott shooting.

"This is a tragedy that shouldn't have happened", U.S. District Judge David Norton said. Slager followed and used a taser to stun Scott.

She said she forgive Slager - a fleeing echoed by Walter Scott's brother, Anthony. Scott had an outstanding warrant for missing child support payments. According to the Baltimore Sun, Scott served as a fireman apprentice after enlisting in 1984, focused on the operation and maintenance of a vessels' electrical and propulsion systems; two years later, he was involuntarily separated through a general discharge "due to a drug-related offense". A cell phone video that explicitly shows Scott being shot from behind while defenseless went viral and provided new and essential evidence in the case, negating Slager's self-defense claims.

Scott's family testified before the sentence was handed down and said they had forgiven Slager.

A bystander's cellphone video didn't capture the struggle but did show Slager firing into Scott as he was running away. For the past 31 months, he said, he had thought about the moment he opened fire.

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He was arrested three days after the video surfaced, a rare case of quick action in cases of police killings. In sentencing Slager, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to a federal civil rights violation, the judge ruled Thursday that he committed second-degree murder and obstruction of justice. Norton said further that Slager intentionally gave false testimony to authorities.

"I'm happy where we're at right now", Dixon said regarding Slager's sentencing. "Judging by the history and characteristics of the defendant, he has lived a spotless life".

Scott, who was unarmed, was hit five times as he ran from Slager.

"Your honor, I miss my dad so much I can't sleep at night", he said. "I never thought I would lose him at a young age and I still can't believe he is gone".

The case was ultimately heard in federal court after USA attorneys reached a plead deal with Slager earlier this year. A year ago, a state judge declared a mistrial when jurors deadlocked in that case. State prosecutors were set to retry him earlier this year, but as part of a plea agreement, Slager pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights violation for using excessive force and SC agreed to drop the murder charge.

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