A judge convicted former police officer Michael Slager of second-degree murder and sentenced him to 20 years in prison Thursday for the 2015 killing of Walter Scott, an unarmed black motorist.
Slager, who is white, shot the 50-year-old motorist in April 2015 when Scott tried to run for it after getting pulled over. The ruling comes after Slager changed his story of the shooting a number of times. He initially reported “shots fired and the subject is down, he took my Taser,” but video of the incident showed that Scott had done no such thing. In fact, Slager walked over and placed his taser next to Scott’s body after calling it in.
— Meg Kinnard (@MegKinnardAP) December 7, 2017
WATCH: (WARNING: Graphic)
The judge spared Slager of a life sentence, as he was initially facing a first-degree murder charge.
A bystander’s video begins with Scott and Slager both standing and locked in some type of struggle. It is unclear from the video, but it appears that Slager’s Taser had been deployed.
Scott then runs away from Slager, at which point the officer opens fire. He shoots eight times, and Scott is seen stumbling as he is hit. After he falls to the ground, Slager appears to look to the side and slightly over his shoulder. He walks towards Scott as he begins speaking into his police radio.
Slager is then heard commanding Scott to put his hands behind his back. He is seen cuffing Scott and then walking away as another officer arrives on the scene.
Slager was a five-year veteran of the force, and Scott had an outstanding arrest warrant for family court. His criminal record showed failures to pay child support, as well as an arrest for an undefined violent crime in 1987.
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