Former South Carolina police officer Michael Slager has been sentenced to at least 19 years in jail over the killing of Walter Scott, a black man whom Slager had shot in the back as he was trying to flee.
ABC News reports that U.S. District Judge David Norton ruled on Thursday that Slager must serve a prison sentence of between 19 to 24 years for both committing second-degree murder and obstructing justice.
Slager fatally shot Scott in 2015 while he was an officer at the North Charleston Police Department. Shortly after the shooting occurred, an eyewitness video emerged showing that Scott had turned around to flee from Slager during a confrontation the two men had — at which point, Slager took out his firearm and shot Scott in the back.
The video directly contradicted Slager’s assertion that he only shot Scott because he felt his life was in danger. After the video emerged, Slager was fired from his job at the North Charleston Police Department.
Despite this clear video evidence, however, a jury late last year was unable to reach a verdict on Slager’s guilt, and the judge in the case eventually declared a mistrial.
“The state retrial and federal trial were expected to take place this year, but instead, in May Slager pleaded guilty to violating Scott’s civil rights in federal court, ending the federal case against him and also resolving the state charges that were pending after the mistrial,” reports ABC News.