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Ex-policeman gets 20 years in prison for Walter Scott slaying in South Carolina

John Monk, The State (Columbia, S.C.) on

Published in News & Features

The Scott shooting resulted in increased training for S.C. law enforcement officers and more use of body cameras by police.

The video, shot by an immigrant from the Dominican Republic who was passing by the vacant lot where the shooting took place, showed Slager 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, contended during the hearing 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.

The federal crime for which Slager was sentenced is "deprivation of rights under color of law," which means basically that an officer has abused his authority and violated someone's rights. In this case, the abuse was the killing of Scott.

Slager pleaded guilty to the charge earlier this year. In return, state murder charges were dropped. In late 2016, when Slager was tried on state murder charges, a jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict.


On April 4, 2015, Slager stopped the car Scott was driving in North Charleston for a broken rear brake light. Scott jumped out of the car and ran. Slager chased him for 200 yards and, then, the two men scuffled. When Scott broke away and started to run away, Slager fired at him.

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