Michael Slager shot Walter Scott, stand trial
Photo by Grace Beahm-Pool/Getty Images
Essence.com
Dec, 07, 2017

Michael Slager, the former South Carolina police officer who fatally shot an unarmed Black man in 2015, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison, NBC News reports.

The decision comes two years after Slager shot and killed motorist Walter Scott as he was fleeing from the officer. Slager initially claimed he feared for his life after Scott allegedly reached for his stun gun during a traffic stop. But viral video of the incident — which shows Slager firing his weapon eight times as Scott ran away — prompted national protests about brutality and racial bias in policing.

Scott was shot five times. The video does not show the 50-year-old man reaching for Slager's stun gun.

From NBC News:

His two-decade prison sentence and two years of supervised release is within the sentencing guidelines for second-degree murder and obstruction of justice that U.S. District Judge David Norton said were committed. Slager shot Scott with "malice and recklessness," Norton said, and then gave false testimony to investigators.

[...]

Federal prosecutors had sought life in prison for 36-year-old Slager, who agreed to plead guilty in May to a federal charge of violating Scott's civil rights. That was in exchange for state prosecutors agreeing not to file any new charges in the case after a month-long murder trial ended in a hung jury a year ago. Slager in that trial faced 30 years to life in prison.

Scott's mother, Judy Scott, was reportedly present at the sentencing to talk about her son, saying he grew up a "happy" child. According to the news outlet, Slager began to cry after Judy Scott turned directly toward the ex-cop to tell him she forgave him.

This is a developing story.