NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK (NAN) ON THE SENTENCING OF FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA POLICE OFFICER MICHAEL SLAGER WHO UNLAWFULLY KILLED WALTER SCOTT
Thursday, December 8, 2017–Today, National Action Network (NAN) leadership responded to the historic prison sentence of 20-years given to former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager in the shooting death of Walter Scott.
NAN leaders Rev. Nelson B. Rivers, III, Vice President of Religious Affairs and External Relations, Elder James Johnson, South Carolina state President of NAN and Trudy Grant, Manager of Religious Affairs and External Relations for NAN, have worked closely with the family of Mr. Scott and their attorneys since April 2015 to ensure justice was brought in this case.
Slager was sentenced today, by US District Judge David Norton, in a federal court in downtown Charleston, SC, after four days of testimony, oral arguments and impact statements during the sentencing hearing. Leaders of NAN were at the hearing each day.
“Today’s sentencing is the longest federal jail sentence ever given for an officer involved shooting in South Carolina and may well be the longest in the history of the United States of America,” said Rev. Rivers, a native of South Carolina who has worked in the field of civil rights for more than 40 years. Rivers also said, “Today’s sentence finally sends a strong message to law enforcement officers in this state and across the nation that you will be held accountable for the killing of innocent people, particularly Black people in South Carolina.”Rivers went on to say, “South Carolina made history, today!”
Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and President of NAN, states “I am glad to see a measure of justice for the Scott family in this case and though it doesn’t equal the life that was taken, it is a step in the right direction to how how the federal government deals more fairly with police cases. NAN hopes it sends a strong signal to law enforcement that they are not above the law. Criminals must be punished when they engage in unlawful acts, whether the criminals are in blue jeans or in blue uniforms.”
“The Scott family has been fearless and faithful throughout this difficult ordeal,” said Elder Johnson of NAN. “Our local and state NAN chapters have been on the frontlines of this struggle since the day that Michael Slager killed the unarmed Mr. Scott,” Johnson continued.
Trudy Grant, Manager of Religious Affairs and External Relations for NAN and a high school classmate and personal friend of Mr. Scott said, “Walter was such a nice guy, who was funny and quiet, so we were devastated by his killing and outraged by the way the police falsely portrayed our friend after the shooting.” Ms. Grant also said, “But today Walter’s classmates and friends can say, “We finally got justice for Walter!”
Mrs. Judy Scott, Mr. Scott’s mother publicly thanked Elder Johnson, Rev. Rivers and NAN for being with the family “since the beginning” of this ordeal.