Two-Decade Term Likely in SC Police Shooting Case

Michael Slager, a white former South Carolina police officer, committed second-degree murder when he shot an unarmed black motorist to death and should expect to spend about two decades in prison, a judge said as he prepared to sentence the ex-officer for a federal civil rights violation. The judge said he would work from guidelines that recommend Slager spend 19 to 24 years in prison.

Michael Slager, a white former South Carolina police officer, committed second-degree murder when he shot an unarmed black motorist to death and should expect to spend about two decades in prison, a judge said Thursday as he prepared to sentence the ex-officer for a federal civil rights violation, the Associated Press reports. U.S. District Judge David Norton had to decide whether Slager’s shooting of Walter Scott in April 2015 was manslaughter or murder. After the judge’s decision, he said he would work from guidelines that recommend Slager spend 19 to 24 years in prison.

A formal sentence was expected later Thursday, after the judge hears testimony from Scott’s family and friends. Scott’s mother, Judy Scott, said through tears that her faith in God gives her the ability to forgive Slager. Scott’s brother, Anthony, echoed that sentiment. “I’m not angry at you, Michael. Michael, I forgive you, and Michael, I do pray for you now and for your family, because we’ve gone through a traumatic time,” he said. Attorneys for ex-North Charleston officer Slager said he shot 50-year-old Walter Scott in self-defense after the two fought and Scott reached for Slager’s stun gun. They said race didn’t play any role in the shooting and that Slager never had any “racial animus” toward minorities. Slager pleaded guilty in federal court to violating Scott’s civil rights. As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors dropped state murder charges. A year ago, a state judge declared a mistrial when jurors deadlocked.

from https://thecrimereport.org