The former North Charleston police officer Michael Butcher, testifies during the murder trial at the Charleston County court in Charleston, S. C.
Disgraced former cop Michael Butcher faces up to 24 years in prison at his sentencing Thursday for the April 2015 shooting of an unarmed black motorist who was caught on video and prompted national outrage.
Butcher is set for his sentencing after U. S. District Judge David Norton found him guilty of second-degree murder for the killing of Walter Scott, who was seen in a dramatic video to run away from the Butcher as the North Charleston officer fired the fatal shots.
Butcher has been in prison since pleading guilty in May to violating Scott’s civil rights. The judge also said Butcher, 36, obstructed justice when he made the financial statements of the federal police after the shooting.
Federal officials are recommending 10 to 13 years in prison, but the Butcher’s lawyers have argued that he must face much less time.
This week, federal prosecutors and Butcher lawyers called witnesses to testify about the technical aspects of the case. That the Butcher, the stun gun, which the former officer said Scott picked up and turned against him, making Butcher, who is white, to fear for his life and shoot in self-defense, firing five times in his back as he walked away.
After Norton ruled Thursday, lawyers started calling friends and family of both men to tell the court the effect of Scott’s death and the officer’s arrest have had on their lives.
On Wednesday, Scott’s youngest son, spoke to the judge, so that he could return to his high school classes. With a photo of his father, Miles Scott said he has had trouble sleeping since the death of his father. He said that he misses watching football with his father and can’t fathom not being able to watch him play the game they both loved.
“I miss my father every day,” Miles Scott said, with tears. “I would like you to condemn the defendant to be the strongest sentence the law allows, because he killed my only father.”
Butcher pulled Scott over for a broken tail light in April 2015, and Scott, 50, ran during the stop. After deploying his stun gun, Butcher fired eight bullets at Scott as he ran away, hitting him five times in the back.
Butcher facing murder charges in the state of the court, but a jury in that case deadlocked last year, and the state charges were dropped as part of his federal plea deal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.