The South Carolina cop who shot and killed a man as he was running away from him, later claiming he was in fear for his life because the man was trying to take his taser, was sentenced to 20 years in prison a federal judge ruled today.
And only because a witness happened to video record the shooting.
The video shows North Charleston police officer Michael Slager shoot Walter Scott as the 50-year-old man was running away from him in 2015, striking him five times in the back, killing him instantly.
The video also shows Slager walking about 17 feet to Scott’s lifeless body and dropping his taser gun next to it to make it appear as if he shot Scott during a struggle over the stun gun.
However, Slager was not aware that a man named Feiden Santana was video recording his actions, which is what led to his termination and prosecution.
According to The State:
The video, shot by an immigrant from the Dominican Republic who was passing by the vacant lot where the shooting took place, showed Slager coolly taking aim and firing eight shots at Scott, 50, as he fled. Five of the shots hit the fleeing Scott in the backside.
Slager’s attorney, Andy Savage of Charleston, introduced evidence during the hearing to contend that Scott had resisted arrest and posed a threat to the officer in the seconds before the shooting.
However, Norton gave greater weight to prosecution evidence showing Slager had lied about crucial facts and tried to cover up aspects of the shooting so Scott appeared at fault.
Had there been no video, prosecutors said, it is likely Slager would not have been prosecuted.
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge David Norton ruled that the shooting was second-degree murder as opposed to voluntary manslaughter, which is what Slager’s attorneys wanted.
Norton also said he will[dpp]