Former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager will spend 20 years in jail, a federal judge in Charleston ruled today.
Slager pled guilty to violating Walter Scott’s civil rights in 2015 when he shot and killed the 50-year old Coast Guard veteran as he attempted to run following a traffic stop off Remount Road in North Charleston. Scott was likely worried about unpaid child support when he decided to flee, his family has said.
A year ago, Slager’s initial criminal jury trial ended in a mistrial. Over the summer Slager agreed to plead guilty to federal civil rights violations in the shooting death, avoiding a local retrial.
This week’s proceedings have centered on prosecutors and defense attorneys’ interpretations of the severity of Slager’s actions, with the feds standing by their position that his actions constituted second-degree murder. Slager’s attorneys challenged the timeline of events leading up to the shooting, casting doubt on the assertion that Slager acted unnecessarily.
In impact statements given before the court today, members of Walter Scott’s mother forgave Slager for his role in her son’s death. Denise Scott recounted fond memories of her late brother-in-law, particularly his dancing and his looks.
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