Victims of police brutality and misconduct are likely filled with joy after Michael Slager, a former police officer from North Charleston, South Carolina was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the murder of Walter Scott. It is rare to see an officer of the law receive any time in jail for a crime he/she commits let alone 20 years so today marks a day in history where justice has been successfully served.
Slager received his sentencing after he “pleaded guilty to depriving Scott of his civil rights under the color of law through the use of excessive force,” according to ABC News 4. Slager had pulled Scott’s vehicle over back in 2015 for a broken brake light. Scott, having a family court bench warrant for unpaid child support, decided to flee knowing he would likely have been arrested for the warrant. While it is the duty of an officer to detain a criminal, they aren’t legally permitted to use excessive force to do this. And when Scott decided to flee, Slager went about handling the issue in all the wrong ways.
He first chased him, and both were seen in video footage falling to the ground. Slager stated that he thought Scott had grabbed hold of his stun gun and began shooting at him after Scott managed to get up and continue running away. The operative word is “away” meaning his back was turned toward Slager. He imposed no threat to the officer, yet, Slager took it upon himself to shoot. As Scott lay on the ground, Slager is seen picking up his stun gun from the area where the two men first grappled and walked over placing it by Scott’s body. Not only did he murder Scott, but he committed an obstruction of justice by tampering with evidence that would later be used in the case.
Did Racism Drive Slager to Commit the Murder?
One of the first issues that was brought to the table regarding this incident is that it was a case of race. Slager is white and Scott was black. But, when both families had the opportunity to speak, Scott’s brother stated, “he never saw the incident as racial.” Perhaps Slager acted out of emotion and neglected to implement the protocol he was trained to use in the given situation.
A take away from this case is that society is now heading in the right direction in terms of justice. When someone commits a crime, whether they are an officer of the law or not, they are expected to be tried in court just as anyone else would. Slager has received the sentencing he deserved based on the crime he committed and hopefully, this case only paves a way for other police brutality victims to seek the justice they and their family deserve.
If you have been negatively impacted by a police officer and feel they engaged in police misconduct, USAttorneys.com wants to help you find a local police brutality attorney who can help you and your family fight back against this recurring issue.