In a historic move, U.S. District Judge David Norton has ruled that former South Carolina police officer Michael Slager committed second-degree murder when he shot Walter Scott, a black unarmed motorist, five times in the back when Scott tried to run away after a traffic stop in April 2015. Norton, who also found Slager obstructed justice by repeatedly lying to state police after the shooting, sentenced Slager to 20 years in prison; because he had pleaded guilty to the federal offense of violating Scott’s civil rights, he has no chance of parole. According to statistics, Slager is the first officer convicted of murder in an on-duty shooting.
In court before the ruling, Scott's family gave emotional testimony about the impact of his loss. “I miss my father every day,” said his youngest son Miles through tears. “I would like you to sentence the defendant to the strongest sentence (because) he murdered my one and only father.” Other relatives likewise described missing Walter; each also said they forgive Slater. Walter's older brother Anthony Scott admitted forgiveness came hard to him, but it did come. Regardless of Slager's sentence, he noted, "At the end of the day, there’s another judge he has to face." After the sentencing, many applauded what may prove a turning of an unjust tide. But with Scott still gone and an estimated, appalling 1% of cops ever held accountable for their shooting deaths, said activist