Ex-cop gets 20 years in killing

Albuquerque Journal - - NATION & WORLD -

The for­mer South Carolina po­lice of­fi­cer who shot and killed Wal­ter Scott, an un­armed black man, fol­low­ing a traf­fic stop was sen­tenced Thurs­day to 20 years be­hind bars in a fed­eral case stem­ming from the shoot­ing.

Michael Slager, who had been an of­fi­cer with the North Charleston po­lice, was charged with mur­der in state court and in­dicted on fed­eral civil rights charges af­ter the shoot­ing in 2015. His mur­der trial ended with a dead­locked jury last year, and pros­e­cu­tors had vowed to retry Slager in state court.

But ear­lier this year, Slager pleaded guilty to a sin­gle fed­eral civil rights charge as part of a plea deal that re­solved both cases. A judge sen­tenced him to 20 years in prison, ac­cord­ing to The As­so­ci­ated Press, which had a re­porter at the sen­tenc­ing.

Un­der the terms of the plea agree­ment an­nounced in May, Slager pleaded guilty to one count of vi­o­lat­ing Scott’s rights un­der color of law, and pros­e­cu­tors said they would push for a judge to ap­ply sen­tenc­ing guide­lines for sec­ond­de­gree mur­der and ob­struc­tion of jus­tice. Slager could have faced a life sen­tence, but pros­e­cu­tors also said as part of the plea deal that they would rec­om­mend that his sen­tence be re­duced due to his “ac­cep­tance of re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

Scott’s death in April 2015 be­came among the most high­pro­file po­lice shoot­ings in re­cent years due to graphic video that later emerged.

Michael Slager

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