White US officer gets 20 years for killing black male

Remigio Civitarese
Dicembre 8, 2017

A judge sentenced former police office Michael Slager to 20 years in prison for killing Walter Scott.

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.

What it did capture, though, is Slager repeatedly firing at Mr Scott as he was attempting to run away.

The death of Walter Scott in April 2015 was one of the most shocking in a series of high-profile USA police shootings, often involving minorities, that have deepened tensions and added to distrust between officers and the communities they serve.

In a wrought courtroom scene, Scott's mother, Judy, told Slager that she forgives him for her son's killing. "That was enough years for me, because no matter how many years Michael Slager gets, it would not bring back my son".

U.S. District Judge David Norton had to decide whether Michael Slager's shooting of Walter Scott in April 2015 was manslaughter or murder before he sentences the ex-officer. "Forgiveness is in my heart there and I pray for you that you would repent and let Jesus come into your life".

A defense attorney says a white former SC law officer should be sentenced on the low end of guidelines being considered by a federal judge. But according to the service records provided by the Coast Guard shortly after the shooting in April 2015, Slager separated as junior enlisted, suggesting his rank remained stagnant during his tenure with the branch. As part of the plea agreement reached in May, prosecutors dropped state murder charges. In those two cases, the police officers involved in the incidents were cleared of wrongdoing despite raw video evidence that suggests otherwise, stoking frustration over police accountability and unconscious racial bias in the legal system.

During tearful statements in court, several members of Scott's family said they forgave the officer and were praying for him.

After the shooting, Slager picked up his stun gun and placed it next to Scott. Those who enforce our laws must also abide by them - and this Department of Justice will hold accountable anyone who violates the civil rights of our fellow Americans.

"I miss my brother, and our family will never be the same", he said. He also said Slager obstructed justice by lying to South Carolina Law Enforcement Division agents after the incident. "My heart breaks that things can not be changed", she said. After the father of four ran from the traffic stop, Slager shot him from behind eight times, hitting him five times.

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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