Former South Carolina officer to appeal sentence in shooting

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A white former South Carolina policeman who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the shooting death of an unarmed black man is appealing his punishment.

U.S. District Judge David Norton sentenced former North Charleston officer Michael Slager on Dec. 7 after the ex-officer pleaded guilty to a civil rights violation in the 2015 shooting death of Walter Scott, who ran from Slager after a traffic stop.

Slager's attorney asked a court clerk to file a notice of appeal once Norton files his order explaining the sentence, The Post and Courier of Charleston reported. Notices of appeals do not typically lay out the reasons for the challenge.

"There are issues in the sentencing proceeding that we are concerned about," defense attorney Andy Savage said Wednesday. Savage said he will await the judge's written order before spelling out details on the appeal.

Slager, 36, pleaded guilty earlier this year to violating Scott's civil rights by shooting him eight times. Slager's underlying offense was ruled to be second-degree murder rather than manslaughter.

Slager is at the Charleston County jail until he is assigned to a federal prison.

He stopped Scott's car for a broken brake light in April 2015. A bystander's video showed Scott running away as Slager pulled his pistol and fired.

Slager was tried for murder in state court, but it ended in a mistrial when a jury couldn't agree whether he had committed a crime.

After Slager pleaded guilty to the federal charge, Norton heard testimony during a four-day sentencing hearing earlier this month. Slager's lawyers said the officer made the initial decision to shoot and defend himself but got carried away.

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