A white former police officer says he is grateful for the forgiveness from the family of a black man that he shot to death.
Michael Slager, a white officer in SC, was filmed shooting 50-year-old Walter Scott as he fled after Slager stopped him for having a broken brake light in April 2015. Slager alleged the shooting was an act of self-defense.
Ex-North Charleston officer Michael Slager testified Thursday before he was sentenced to 20 years for violating the civil rights of Walter Scott.
"I forgive you", the victim's mother told 36-year-old Slager in court, as she spoke about how she had been affected by her son's death.
Newsweek reports prior to Thursday, the 2009 convictions of three cops marked the most recent instance in which the justice system held cops accountable for killing an unarmed Black person.
Judy Scott on Thursday turned toward Michael Slager and said her faith in God gives her the ability to forgive him for killing her son, Walter Scott.
Former North Charleston officer Michael Slager was sentenced by U.S. District Judge David Norton, who earlier ruled the cop's shooting of Walter Scott during a traffic stop was second-degree murder.
Slager pleaded not guilty at his first trial and claimed he was forced to open fire after Scott came toward him with a stun gun. "I pray for you, that you would repent and let Jesus come in your life".
Separately, Slager faced murder charges in SC and has pleaded not guilty. As part of the plea agreement reached in May, prosecutors dropped state murder charges.
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The sentencing was preceded by emotional testimony from members of both the Scott and the Slager family.
"This is a tragedy that shouldn't have happened", said Norton, who could have thrown the disgraced law enforcer behind bars for 24 years.
The deadly shooting was recorded on a mobile-phone camera by bystander Feidin Santana, evidence without which the officer probably would have been fired but never tried, experts have said.
"I think it must be something else to why they would not release that", Anthony Scott said while walking back to his hotel after the sentencing.
"If you met him, you would like him", she said.
Slager's defense team brought in experts in audio and video to try to prove that a ground fight took place between Slager and Scott.
For three days, attorneys representing the federal government and a former SC officer charged in an unarmed black motorist's shooting death have presented technical testimony to a judge considering how much time Michael Slager should spend in federal prison.
The footage show Slager drawing his pistol and firing from about 4.5 metres away, hitting Scott in the back five times.
In April 2015, Time magazine put Scott and Slager on its cover under the headline "Black Lives Matter".
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