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Ex-South Carolina cop's shooting of motorist was murder: judge

07 December 2017

Sentencing hearings for former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager reached an emotional peak Wednesday afternoon as Walter Scott's son listed the ways his life changed following his father's death in 2015.

Judge Norton, according to Burr, said that no matter what sentence he hands down, the Scott family and Slager family won't like it.

Slager, who is white, fired five times into Scott's back as he ran away.

The former officer pulled Scott over on April 4, 2015, for a broken brake light.

The case ended in a mistrial.

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A federal judge in SC on Thursday sentenced a white former North Charleston police officer to 20 years in prison in the shooting death of an unarmed black motorist.

Defending Slager, lawyer Andy Savage said: 'There's nothing in Michael Slager's background, from birth to today, of any racial animus or any harassment of minority members of the community'.

Members of the Scott family filled one side of the courtroom Monday. Norton ruled that Slager committed second-degree murder and obstruction of justice.

"I forgive you Michael Slager", she said.

Slager pleaded guilty in May to violation of civil rights by acting under the color of law in Scott's killing.

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The shooting was caught on video by a witness.

Scott's family testified before the sentence was handed down and said they had forgiven Slager.

But he indicated he will sentence the 36-year-old Slager to a minimum of 235 months, or almost 20 years, in prison. A bystander recorded the incident, in which the 50-year-old Scott was hit five times from behind, sparking a national outcry.

At this week's hearing, attorneys for Slager and the state called expert witnesses to the stand to bolster rival interpretations of the video and audio, which included some dash-cam footage from Slager's vehicle.

But there were no complaints from the Scotts about the findings from the judge, who also determined that Slager had made false and misleading statements. Under questioning by Slager's attorney, Ghent said Monday the stun gun was never tested for fingerprints and that there was no reason for Slager to re-holster the weapon rather than leave it on the ground where it fell. Before a state retrial and a federal trial, Slager in May pleaded guilty to violating Scott's civil rights in federal court.

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It was the one high-profile killing of an unarmed black man by a police officer that virtually everyone could agree on.

Ex-South Carolina cop's shooting of motorist was murder: judge