Michael Slager, the former South Carolina police officer who shot and killed Walter Scott in 2015, filed an appeal for his 20-year sentence to be vacated. A judge has denied the appeal.
Slager pleaded guilty to a civil rights charge in 2017 after shooting Scott five times in the back during a traffic stop. However, according to WCSC-TV, Slager brought a motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence, claiming ineffective counsel.
During an evidentiary hearing, attorney Andy Savage testified that Judge David Norton said during the 2017 trial that it “was not a murder case” and didn’t believe Slager deserved 20 years.
CBS also reports, Savage “said the judge discounted the pre-sentencing report in sentencing Slager to 20 years, but that the judge's alleged comments didn't sway his (Savage's) performance in the case in any manner.”
On April 13, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel criticized Slager’s bid to overturn his 20-year prison sentence, saying, “Calling Mr. Savage ineffective is ridiculous.” However, he did not make a final decision until yesterday (April 19).
According to CNN, Judge Gergel denied the appeal, writing, "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,"
Gergel continued, "Compounding these horrible facts was petitioner's inconsistent and obviously false statements about the circumstances of the incident, with which he destroyed his credibility."
Video of Walter Scott being killed by Slager was released shortly after the incident. Scott is seen fleeing from Slager, who decided not to chase after him but rather fire five shots into Scott’s back.
Walter Scott was only 50 years old.
(Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)