Former SC Police Officer Gets 3 Years’ Probation in Fatal Shooting of Unarmed Black Motorist

Justin Craven 

A white ex-cop in South Carolina was sentenced to three years’ probation Monday in the fatal 2014 shooting of an unarmed black man, local media are reporting, according to Reuters.

Justin Craven, a former police officer in North Augusta, pleaded guilty to misconduct in office Monday and was given the probation sentence, as well as 80 hours of public service, local station WRDW reported. As part of a plea deal Monday, the felony charge against Craven was dropped. 


According to the Aiken Standard, Craven, 27, waived his right to a jury trial and pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge. He faced up to one year in prison, along with a fine of up to $1,000, in addition to a felony charge of discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle, which could have meant up to 10 additional years in prison, a fine of up to $1,000 or both. 

“We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome, as far as the sentence is concerned,” Craven’s attorney Jack Swerling told reporters. “We got probation, no house arrest, and he’s pretty much free to go and live his life the way he wants. He’s got a young family, he’s got a job and, but for this incident in his life, he’s unblemished.”


Craven is the father of a 4-month-old, the Standard reports. 

Craven was indicted initially on the felony charge in May after discharging his weapon into a vehicle that was occupied, killing 68-year-old Ernest Satterwhite. According to authorities, Craven had chased Satterwhite for 13 minutes, attempting to pull him over. Craven caught up with Satterwhite on a dirt road behind his home in February 2014, the Standard reports. Craven then exited his vehicle and approached Satterwhite in the car, firing at him several times through the car window. 


According to the arrest warrant, the now former officer admitted to firing into Satterwhite's car, Reuters reports. Prosecutors have said that there was a struggle at the car window. 

Share This Story

Get our newsletter