Former SC police officer sentenced to 20 years in shooting of Walter Scott

FILE - In a Nov. 29, 2016 file photo, former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager testifies during his murder trial at the Charleston County court in Charleston, S.C. Slager, who fatally shot a black motorist in 2015, could learn his fate as soon as Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 6, 2017, as his federal sentencing hearing winds down on its third day. (Grace Beahm/Post and Courier via AP, Pool, File)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A white former South Carolina police officer has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for shooting an unarmed black motorist to death in 2015.

A federal judge handed down the sentence for Michael Slager on Thursday. Slager pleaded guilty to violating Walter Scott’s civil rights by unjustly shooting him in the back five times as he was running away from a traffic stop.

In arguing for a lighter sentence, Slager’s attorneys told the judge that the former North Charleston officer and Scott fought on the ground and Scott reached for his stun gun during the struggle.

A bystander’s cellphone video didn’t capture the struggle but did show Slager firing into Scott as he was running away.

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