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Ex-South Carolina cop sentenced to 20 years

08 December 2017

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - A white former SC police officer committed second-degree murder when he shot an unarmed black motorist to death and should expect to spend about two decades in prison, a judge said Thursday as he prepared to sentence the ex-officer for a federal civil rights violation.

Michael Slager, the white former police officer who was filmed killing an unarmed black man in North Charleston, S.C., has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

What it did capture, though, is Slager repeatedly firing at Mr Scott as he was attempting to run away. Michael Slager's case is a rare conviction in numerous prosecutions of police officers who have shot and killed unarmed African-Americans.

The mother of a slain black motorist says she forgives the white former SC police officer who killed her son.

"I forgive you Michael Slager", she said.

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Former North Charleston officer Michael Slager was sentenced by U.S. District Judge David Norton, who earlier ruled the cop's shooting of Walter Scott during a traffic stop was second-degree murder.

Mr Scott's mother, Judy Scott, addressed Slager during the sentencing. "I pray for you".

Defense lawyers worked out a plea agreement to settle all of the charges Slager faced in state and federal court.

Scott's brother, Anthony, said it had taken him a long time to overcome his depression and forgive Slager.

The judge agreed with prosecutors who argued at Slager's sentencing hearing this week that he showed malice and calculation in the April 2015 shooting. But after the shooting, the Scott family successfully pleaded for calm, asking everyone to let the justice system run its course. The former police officer has been in jail since his plea in May.

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Slager had claimed that Scott had wrested his stun gun from him, and that he fired his gun in self-defense. "As I get older my dad will never see me or his future grand kids". "I said you know how the North Charleston police does, seemed like they just picked at you for any reason".

Norton also said Slager obstructed justice when he made statements to state police after the shooting.

For three days, attorneys representing the federal government and a former SC officer charged in an unarmed black motorist's shooting death have presented technical testimony to a judge considering how much time Michael Slager should spend in federal prison. Dashcam video shows that after a short conversation, Scott ran away from the vehicle and that after a foot chase, Slager fired eight shots, killing Scott.

Scott's death was among a number of killings that has provoked nationwide debate about law enforcement's use of lethal force, particularly in cases involving black males.

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Ex-South Carolina cop sentenced to 20 years