Michael Slager, the former North Charleston police officer charged with the fatal shooting of Walter Scott, received a formal prison sentence on Thursday NBC News reports.
U.S. District Court Judge David Norton found Slager guilty of second-degree murder and obstruction of justice. Slater will receive 20 years behind bars and two years of supervised released, according to NBC.
Judge Norton’s decision followed after Slager pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights case in May. Slager, who is white, opened fire after pulling over Scott, a 50-year-old Black unarmed motorist on April, 4, 2015.
Scott’s fatal shooting was a significant apex in the series of police shooting deaths involving deadly force used by police officers on communities of color. The chilling video of Scott’s profile fleeing while Slager fired in his direction stirred the Black Lives Matter movement in the midst of several FBI probes concerning the tactics and polices of police departments across the country.
Slager was fired from the department following an administrative leave. He was arrested and faced a jury trial for Scott’s murder, but plead not guilty. Slugger defense team argued that he feared for his life–in contrast to the utter fear Scott displayed as his blue shirt streaked through the trees before he was struck down.
In December 2016, a mistrial was declared in the case, prompting demonstrations and calls for justice. A scheduled federal and state trial were preempted after he plead guilty in the May 2017 civil rights case, ABC News reports.
Judge Norton’s ruling follows several days of testimony from witnesses and experts while both Slager and Scott’s family members sat in the courtroom.