From [HERE] 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.
Federal prosecutors had urged that Mr. Slager be sentenced to life in prison for a shooting that they contended amounted to second-degree murder. Mr. Slager’s defense lawyers, as well as the United States Probation Office, had recommended that the federal judge in the case, David C. Norton, treat the shooting as akin to voluntary manslaughter instead.
On Thursday, the fourth day of the sentencing proceedings, Judge Norton said he had concluded that the killing should be considered murder.
“Michael Slager admitted what he did,” Judy Scott, Mr. Scott’s mother, said outside the courthouse after the plea hearing on May 2. “That was enough years for me, because no matter how many years Michael Slager gets, it would not bring back my son.”
Mr. Slager, who has been jailed in Charleston County since he entered his guilty plea in early May.
Cell phone footage clearly shows Slager, who is white, pumping eight bullets into the retreating figure of Scott, who was black, as he fled from the officer. The distance between the two at the moment Slager began firing on the unarmed Scott appears to be anywhere from 18 to 20 feet, much too far for Scott to have been any kind of credible danger to the officer. Yet Slager falsely reported that Scott ran at him and attempted to wrestle away his Taser, causing the officer to feel "threatened" and necessitating use of lethal force.
The shooting of Scott occurred following a daytime traffic stop for a non-functioning brake light.
Immediately following the shooting, Slager radioed a dispatcher, stating, "Shots fired and the subject is down. He grabbed my Taser." In the report of the shooting filed before the video surfaced, Slager said he had feared for his life because Scott had taken his Taser, and that he shot Scott because he "felt threatened".
Bystander video proved all of this to be false. After video surfaced contradicting his police report and showing that he planted a gun by Scott's dead body, Slager was charged with murder
Despite an abundance of evidence, a state judge had declared a mistrial on December 5 after jurors failed to reach a verdict following 22 hours of deliberation. The jury was made up of 11 white jurors and one black juror. [MORE]