Charleston, SC – A federal judge gave former South Carolina police officer Michael Slager 19 to 24 years in prison for the 2015 deadly shooting of Walter Scott on Thursday.
U.S. District Judge David Norton ruled that the former officer committed second-degree murder and obstruction of justice, CBS News reported.
The sentencing decision came after Slager, who is white, pleaded guilty in federal court in May to violating Scott’s civil rights by shooting him without justification, the New York Daily News reported.
Slager, who is now 36 years old, was an officer with the North Charleston Police Department when he shot and killed Scott on April 4, 2015. He was fired by his department after the shooting.
Disturbing cellphone video footage that showed Slager shooting Scott in the back was shared widely on social media after the fatal shooting of the unarmed man. The graphic footage was shown again during the sentencing hearing in Charleston, the New York Daily News reported.
The witness who shot the cellphone video, Feiden Santana, testified at the sentencing.
Initially, Slager was charged with murder in South Carolina, and pleaded not guilty.
During the murder trial, the former police officer’s attorney said his client shot Scott because he was in fear for his life. In 2016, the case ended in a mistrial.
The state retrial and federal trial would have taken place this year, but in May Slager pleaded guilty in federal court to violating Scott’s civil rights, ending the federal case against him, and also resolving the state charges that were pending after the mistrial.
The judge’s ruling Thursday followed several days of testimony from numerous witnesses, including the victim’s mother, Judy Scott.