Countless injustices have propelled the Black Lives Matter movement to raise awareness about police brutality against the black community. And although the cause has received plenty of media coverage in recent years, the vast majority of cops who’ve killed African Americans have faced little to no repercussions; however, that wasn’t the case this week.
Former South Carolina police officer Michael T. Slager was sentenced to 20 years in prison Thursday for the deadly shooting of Walter Scott. According to the New York Times, U.S. District Judge David Norton ruled the ex-cop committed second-degree murder when he killed Scott during a traffic stop in 2015.
"We have to get this type of justice, because being a police officer is one of the most powerful jobs in the country, and it should be respected," L. Chris Stewart, the lawyer for Scott’s family, told the Times. "But that doesn’t mean you’re above the law. That doesn’t mean you can do as you please."
Slager, who previously pleaded guilty to violating Scott’s civil rights, expressed his regret in court, stating: "Walter Scott is no longer with his family, and I’m responsible for that. I wish it never would have happened. I wish I could go back in time."
In April of 2015, Slager pulled Scott over because he noticed a broken taillight on his vehicle. After an on-foot chase and a scuffle, the white officer opened fire on Scott as he ran away, shooting him five times in the back. Shortly after the footage of the incident went viral, the North Charleston Police Department fired Slager.