The white police officer who shot and killed a black man in South Carolina two years ago was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Thursday.
In April 2015, Walter Scott, 50, had been pulled over for a broken tail light while on his way to an auto parts store. Scott, a Coast Guard veteran, had a warrant out for his arrest related to child support payments — something he had been jailed for before.
When Scott attempted to flee police on foot, then officer Michael Slager fired at him eight times — and hitting him five — in broad daylight after discharging both of his taser cartridges.
Slager claimed that Scott had grabbed at his taser, though video revealed this was not the case. Additionally, a toxicology report noted that Scott had cocaine and alcohol in his system, though the level of cocaine was less than half the average amount for an impaired driver and testimony later proved that Scott did not test positive for alcohol.
After a mistrial in December, Slager pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights charge, Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law, in exchange for dropping several other charges, including the state murder charges. Under the murder charge, he could have faced the death penalty. Under the civil rights charge, Slager faced up to life in prison.
U.S. District Judge David Norton had determined that Slager did commit second-degree murder and obstruction of justice, which also meant he could have been behind bars for life.
Video of the now infamous shooting — which further intensified relations between police and communities of color nationwide — is below: