Ex-cop sentenced to 20 years for killing of unarmed black man

Former cop who shot unarmed black man gets 20 years in prison

A small memorial for Walter Scott marks the spot of his death in North Charleston South Carolina

The white North Charleston, South Carolina police officer who shot and killed an unarmed African-American Coast Guard vet in April 2015 was sentenced to 20 years in prison on December 7, the New York Times reports.Officer Michael Slager, 36, shot and killed Walter Scott when the latter exited his vehicle and fled on foot during a daytime traffic stop.

Still, Slager pleaded guilty in federal court to violating Scott's civil rights.

The officer, who was sacked after the shooting, "acted out of malice aforethought, shooting dead an unarmed and fleeing Walter Scott", Judge David Norton said Thursday.

Slager was then criticized for trying to stage a scene to back up his claim of self-defense, by placing his stun gun beside Scott.

Former police officer, Michael Slager, shot Walter Scott five times during a 2015 traffic stop.

The case ended in a mistrial in 2016. "Judging by the history and characteristics of the defendant, he has lived a spotless life. It's a zero-sum game".

Former North Charleston officer Michael Slager was sentenced by U.S. District Judge David Norton, who earlier ruled the cop's shooting of Walter Scott during a traffic stop was second-degree murder. Slager, who is white, fired five times into Scott's back as he ran away. Arguments about everything from the conditions in jail, to Slager's celiac disease, to his vulnerability to harassment were brought up in an effort to lessen the sentence.

A bystander's cellphone video didn't capture the struggle but did show Slager firing into Scott as he was running away.

"The killing of Walter Scott was not justified", Fishman said. "Now they are taking position that this was the heat of passion". The two scuffled on the ground before Scott managed to get away.

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A formal sentence was expected later Thursday, after the judge hears testimony from Scott's family and friends.

"It was so surreal that this happened that morning", said Walter Scott's mom, Judy, while holding back tears. "I want you to know that he is a very good person and we all love him very, very much".

Relatives of the victim said Thursday they forgave Slager, despite their grief.

On Wednesday, Scott's youngest son spoke so he could return to his high school classes.

"We feel like we have gotten justice today, we feel that we have moved on", Scott said.

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. The city settled with the Scott family for $6.5 million in October 2015. They said Slager never had any "racial animus" toward minorities. "I'm disappointed in the state and I'm disappointed in the city of North Charleston".

Slager told investigators that Scott took his stun gun and that he opened fire to prevent him from using it. Scott's brother Anthony Scott echoed that sentiment. "If there's nothing to hide, there is no reason to hide anything".

"Law enforcement officers have the noble calling to serve and protect", Attorney General Sessions said.

Still, Slager pleaded guilty in federal court to violating Scott's civil rights.

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