Mistrial in case of South Carolina cop who killed Walter Scott from behind

Mistrial in case of South Carolina cop who killed Walter Scott from behind
Jurors in the case of a white police officer, Michael Slager, who shot and killed African American Walter Scott in the back, could not reach a unanimous verdict, prompting the judge to declare a mistrial.

The jury deliberated  for nearly 22 hours over four days whether to convict Slager of murder or voluntary manslaughter. A Judge called it "the longest [deliberation] I've ever been involved in."

Scarlett A. Wilson, the prosecutor for Charleston County, has issued a statement, saying that Slager will be tried again.

"We hope the federal and state courts will coordinate efforts regarding any future trial dates but we stand ready whenever the court calls," she said. 

The jury had been tasked with deciding whether the former North Charleston officer was guilty of either murder or voluntary manslaughter, or if his actions were in self-defense, meaning that Slager committed no crime. Slager could face a lifetime in prison if convicted of murder. The voluntary manslaughter charge could bring a sentence of up to 30 years.

READ MORE: Walter Scott’s fatal shooting by white police officer unjustified – prosecution 

Earlier in the day, Judge Clifton Newman instructed the jurors that that any guilty verdict must be produced only if jurors are beyond reasonable doubt.

According to Live5News, the verdict hangs in the air if one juror does not agree with the rest of them.

“I cannot and will not change my mind,” one juror said in a note cited by Live5News“I understand the position of the court, but I cannot in good conscience consider a guilty verdict.

I respect the position of my fellow jurors, some of which oppose my position […] as you stated, we must follow the instructions you have given us, and the law. At the same time, my heart does not want to have to tell the Scott family that the man that killed their son, brother and father is innocent. But with the choices, I cannot and will not change my mind.”

The shooting of Walter Scott was caught a bystander’s cellphone video and shocked the nation.

Slager pleaded not guilty and has been free on bail since the deadly April 2015 shooting. He insists that the video does not reflect exactly what happened on the day that he stopped Scott. According to Slager, a struggle over the Taser culminated in Scott grabbing the weapon, which prompted his response.

In May, Slager was also indicted by a federal grand jury for civil rights violations as well as charges of obstructing justice and a gun violation.

Meanwhile, some people on social media said that Slager is responsible for killing Scott and justice should be served. 

Shortly after Newman declared a mistrial, people expressed their opposition to the jury’s deadlock. 

The video, in which Slager can be seen shooting Scott eight times in the back as he runs away, prompted outrage online.

READ MORE: Family of black man killed by South Carolina cop to receive $6.5 million in settlement

The city of North Charleston agreed to pay a $6.5 million settlement to the Scott family in October 2015.