On April 4, 2015, former South Carolina cop Michael Slager shot and killed unarmed black man Walter Scott in the back as Scott was running away. On Thursday, a judge sentenced Slager to 20 years in prison for second-degree murder and obstruction of justice.
According to ABC News, “Both sides wept in court today when Scott’s mother looked the former officer in the eye and told him she forgave him.”
This was the second time Slager stood trial for Scott’s killing. Even with video evidence, a jury failed to convict him in 2016—a symbol of just how difficult it is to convict police officers in the United States.
According to CNN, between 2005 and April 2017, only 80 officers had been arrested for police shootings—and of those, only 35 percent were convicted. And even in this case, the sentencing is far from the life in prison that Slager could have faced.