Police Officer Gets 20 Years For Shooting Unarmed Coast Guard Veteran

Michael Slager

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

A white former police officer says he is grateful for the forgiveness from the family of a black man that he shot to death.

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.

"Michael Slager admitted what he did", Judy Scott, the victim's mother, said outside the courthouse after the plea hearing in May.

What it did capture, though, is Slager repeatedly firing at Mr Scott as he was attempting to run away. "I forgive you", Scott's mother, Judy, said as she turned toward her son's killer.

Newsweek reports prior to Thursday, the 2009 convictions of three cops marked the most recent instance in which the justice system held cops accountable for killing an unarmed Black person.

"I forgive Michael Slager".

U.S. District Court Judge David Norton handed down the sentence Thursday against Michael Slager for the death of Walter Scott.

Scott, who was unarmed, was hit five times as he ran from Slager. "I pray for you, that you would repent and let Jesus come in your life".

This federal case is separate from his charges in SC state court.

The guilty plea was part of a deal reached with prosecutors in May in which state murder charges were dropped in exchange for the guilty plea.

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Through tears, Scott's family told Slager they felt sorrow for him and the loss his young children would feel in his absence.

The shooting was captured on a bystander's cellphone and shared around the world, setting off Black Lives Matter protests across the U.S.as demonstrators said it was another egregious example of police officers' mistreatment of African-Americans.

Slaged pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights offense.

Slager's defense team brought in experts in audio and video to try to prove that a ground fight took place between Slager and Scott.

"I'm not angry at you, Michael".

The judge also found that Slager, 36, obstructed justice when he made statements to state police after the shooting.

Scott's brother, Anthony Scott, said it was tougher for him.

Slager, looking haggard in a gray-and-white prison jumpsuit with his wrists shackled to his waist, gave his own testimony. A cell phone video that explicitly shows Scott being shot from behind while defenseless went viral and provided new and essential evidence in the case, negating Slager's self-defense claims.

Scott, who was 50 at the time of his death, served two years with the U.S. Coast Guard Yard at Curtis Bay south of Baltimore, Maryland.

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