A judge upheld the 20-year sentence against the former South Carolina cop who fatally shot Walter Scott, a Black man who ran during a traffic stop back in 2015.
As REVOLT previously reported, Michael Slager appealed his sentence, blaming his lawyers for doing a poor job. He also said his legal team didn't inform him about a plea offer that could have given him a lesser sentence. However, on Monday (April 19), Judge Richard Gergel wrote in his ruling that he believes Attorney Andy Savage told his client about every plea deal that was offered to him.
Judge Gergel said that Slager caused his own fate, not his legal team.
“What sealed petitioner’s fate regarding malice was not the language of his plea agreement or the performance of his defense counsel, but his own willful act of shooting an unarmed man in the back five times as he ran for his life,” the judge wrote. “Compounding these horrible facts was petitioner’s inconsistent and obviously false statements about the circumstances of the incident, with which he destroyed his credibility.”
Slager shot and killed Scott during a traffic stop over a broken brake light in 2015. The former cop first used his taser against Scott, but it did not work. After a second deployment, Scott fell to the ground, but got up and took off running.
Initially, Slager claimed he shot the 50-year-old in self-defense during a scuffle for his stun gun, but a witness captured the shooting on their cell phone, which refuted his story. The viral video showed Scott running away as Slager shot him in the back multiple times.
Slager later pleaded guilty to violating Scott’s civil rights and the length of his sentence was determined by how Judge David Norton viewed the shooting. Norton ruled the incident as second-degree murder due to the fact that Slager lied about Scott stealing his taser and the fact that the victim was shot in the back five times.