Michael Slager, the former North Charleston police officer who fatally shot the unarmed black motorist Walter Scott in the back in 2015, was sentenced to 20 years in prison today.
But ABC News initially reported that Slager was “sentenced to 19-24 years in prison.” The inaccurate claim was made at 10:20 AM on Twitter, about two hours before Slager was actually sentenced.
The 10:20 AM tweet read, “JUST IN: Former South Carolina police officer Michael Slager sentenced to 19-24 years in prison for deadly shooting of unarmed Walter Scott.”
An hour after its inaccurate claim, ABC News tweeted a correction, to note that Slager “faces 19 to 24 years.” That claim was because the U.S. District Judge David Norton said he would “follow sentencing guidelines” for the charges. Slager pleaded guilty “to a federal charge of deprivation of rights under the color of law” earlier this year, as CNN reported, and his plea deal “states that the government will ask the court to apply sentencing guidelines for second degree murder, which carries up to 25 years in prison.”
iMediaEthics has asked ABC News if it repeated the error on air or in an online news story, and if so, if a correction has or will be published on those platforms.
— ABC News (@ABC) December 7, 2017
Earlier this month, ABC News suspended Brian Ross after he broadcast, based on an anonymous source, an inaccurate report that Donald Trump, as presidential candidate, asked Gen. Michael Flynn to contact the Russians. The ABC News source actually said that Trump was president-elect when he asked Flynn to contact the Russians, as iMediaEthics reported.