SC officer sentenced; judge says shooting unarmed motorist was murder


Closing arguments have wrapped up in the federal sentencing trial of a former SC police office facing prison time for the shooting of an unarmed motorist.

The judge said he will announce his decision later Thursday but will sentence the former officer to a minimum of 235 months, or almost 20 years, in prison. Scott was unarmed and running away from Slager when the bullets pierced his body and ended his life.

Slager had said there was a struggle between the two men and Scott tried to take his stun gun, but Norton said a bystander's video of the incident showed otherwise.

During the trial last November, the judge did not allow the captions to be seen by jurors, because the sound was not able to be heard without special equipment.

The judge also ruled Slager obstructed justice in misleading investigators about what happened immediately following the shooting in April 2015.

Slager had pulled Scott over for a broken brake light.

When Judge Norton asked Humphries whether he believed Scott's killing constituted a "righteous shooting", Humphries simply replied, "No". He could have found him guilty of voluntary manslaughter. "Michael, I forgive you, and Michael, I do pray for you now and for your family, because we've gone through a traumatic time", he said. He said he shot the 50-year-old Black motorist in self-defense after Scott tried to grab his Taser.

The judge's ruling today followed several days of testimony, including from Feiden Santana, the witness who filmed the shooting.

Disturbing cellphone video was shared widely on social media after the fatal shooting, and the graphic footage again was on display during the sentencing hearing in Charleston.

In a wrought courtroom scene, Scott's mother, Judy, told Slager that she forgives him for her son's killing. Scott was hit in the back five times. Slager contends he was securing the weapon.

But he indicated he will sentence the 36-year-old Slager to a minimum of 235 months, or almost 20 years, in prison. "No matter what sentence I give, neither the Scott family nor the Slager family will think it is right".

Slager was charged in SC with murder and pleaded not guilty.

The former cop and his attorneys had long argued that the cell phone video didn't show the full story, and that the officers truly feared for his life.

While that case was ongoing, federal authorities pursued a parallel investigation against Slager on civil rights charges.