AFTERMATH OF S.C. MISTRIAL
Judy Scott, Walter Scott’s mother, is comforted by her son Rodney as the family attorneys, Chris Stewart, left, and Justin Bamberg hold a news conference after a mistrial was declared in the Michael Slager trial Monday in Charleston, S.C. A panel of one black and 11 white jurors — who had seemed close to a verdict to convict Friday, with apparently only one holdout — said Monday they were unable to reach a unanimous decision.
charleston, s.c.» A South Carolina judge declared a mistrial Monday after a jury deadlocked in the murder trial of a white former police officer charged in the shooting death of an unarmed black motorist.
A panel of one black and 11 white jurors — who had seemed close to a verdict to convict Friday, with apparently only one holdout — said Monday they were unable to reach a unanimous decision after deliberating more than 22 hours over four days.
“We as a jury regret to inform the court that despite the best efforts of all parties we are unable to come to a unanimous decision,” said Circuit Judge Clifton Newman, reading a note from the jury before declaring a mistrial.
Former patrolman Michael Slager was charged with murder in the April 4, 2015, shooting death of 50year-old Walter Scott. The judge had said the jury also could consider a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.
Outside the courtroom, Scott’s mother and brother said justice eventually will prevail.
“I’m not sad, because I know justice will be served,” Judy Scott said.
Asked whether he could forgive Slager, Anthony Scott said he could eventually “find the peace” to forgive the ex-officer but not before justice is served.
“He gets to spend Christmas with his family,” he said of Slager.
Cellphone video taken by a bystander that showed Scott being shot in the back five times was shown widely in the media and on the internet and shocked the country, inflaming the national debate about how blacks are treated by law enforcement officers.
After the video went public, Slager was fired by the police department and charged with murder. Scott’s family called for peace in the North Charleston community. Their calls for calm are believed to have helped prevent the kind of violence that erupted elsewhere when black men were killed in encounters with law enforcement.
It’s the second time in recent weeks a jury has deadlocked in an officer-involved shooting. A mistrial was declared Nov. 12 when a jury in Cincinnati couldn’t reach a verdict in the case of a former campus police officer who was also charged with shooting a black motorist.
There have been similar debates over race and policing in places from New York to Ferguson, Mo., and from Tulsa, Okla., to North Carolina.