A white former police officer in South Carolina was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Thursday for shooting an unarmed black motorist to death in 2015.
Former North Charleston officer Michael Slager pleaded guilty to violating Walter Scott’s civil rights when he shot him five times in the back. A state murder charge, which resulted in a hung jury in 2016, was dropped as part of the plea deal.
Stunning cellphone video of the shooting helped jump start the Black Lives Matter movement. Some civil rights leaders say without the video, it might have been impossible to even charge Slager.
Here are some recent high-profile deaths of blacks in the U.S. during police encounters:
Six Baltimore officers were involved in the arrest and in-custody death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died after being injured in a Baltimore police van, touching off weeks of protest.
Prosecutors in July 2016 dropped all remaining charges after acquittals and a hung jury. The U.S. Department of Justice then decided not to bring federal civil rights charges. Gray’s family agreed to a $6.4 million settlement with the city in September 2015.
A judge in July dismissed charges against Ray Tensing, a white former University of Cincinnati officer who fatally shot Sam DuBose, an unarmed black motorist, during a 2015 traffic stop.
The judge’s decision came after a prosecutor declined to pursue a third murder trial; the first two ended in hung juries. Tensing has said he feared he could be dragged or run over as DuBose tried to drive away. The university fired Tensing, restructured its public safety department and reached a $5.3 million settlement that includes free undergraduate tuition for DuBose’s 13 children.
St. Anthony, Minn., officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of manslaughter in June in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, a black motorist who had just informed the officer that he was carrying a gun.
The case in suburban St. Paul garnered immediate attention because Castile’s girlfriend streamed the aftermath live on Facebook. Yanez testified that Castile was pulling his gun out of his pocket despite his commands not to do so. Castile’s mother reached a $3 million settlement and…