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Former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager, center, is escorted from the courthouse during his murder trial at the Charleston County court in Charleston, S.C., Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. The case of a former South Carolina police officer charged with murder in the shooting death of an unarmed black motorist is now before the jury. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

 

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina judge has declared a mistrial after a jury deadlocked in the murder trial of a white police officer charged in the shooting death of an unarmed black motorist.

Circuit Judge Clifton Newman declared a mistrial in the case after a jury said it could not reach a verdict after deliberating more than 22 hours over four days.

Former patrolman Michael Slager was charged with murder in the April 4, 2015 shooting death of 50-year-old Walter Scott. The judge had said the jury could also consider a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.

Cellphone video showing taken by a bystander that showed Scott being shot in the back 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.

The video in the Scott slaying renewed debate over how blacks are treated by white law officers. There have been similar debates over race and policing in places from New York to Ferguson, Missouri and from Tulsa, Oklahoma to North Carolina.

Scott was pulled in North Charleston for having a broken taillight on his 1990 Mercedes and then fled the car, running into a vacant lot. Family members have said he may have run because he was worried about going to jail because he was $18,000 behind on child support.

The prosecution argued that the 35-year-old Slager let his sense of authority get the better of him.

The defense maintained that the two men wrestled on the ground, that Scott got control of Slager’s stun gun and then pointed the weapon at the 35-year-old officer before the shooting. The defense also contended there was no way the officer could tell if Scott was armed.

Much of the testimony at the trial centered on the cellphone video, which at times was blurry and shaky. The jurors saw the video numerous times, including several times frame by frame.

Last year, the city of North Charleston reached a $6.5 million civil settlement with Scott’s family. In the wake of the shooting, the city also asked that the U.S. Justice Department conduct a review of its police department policies with an eye toward how the department can improve its relationship with residents.

Slager also faces trial next year in federal court on charges of depriving Scott of his civil rights.

PHOTO: AP

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22 thoughts on “Judge Declares Mistrial in Michael Slager Murder Trial

  1. redbone1954 on said:

    Well another case of “don’t believe your lying eyes” just like in the Rodney King case. When the entire world saw the video of more than one cop beating the crap out of King. Now this cop shooting a man in the back who was only running because he owed child support and then try to put a weapon or a taser beside him this idiot juror says he can’t in good conscience convict the cop. His mind was made up before the trial even started. Another case of don’t believe your your eyes. what you saw did not happen. Is this a Jedi mind trick????? SMH

  2. Black Jack on said:

    Every living soul on this earth should be utterly sick and feel disrespected. This far most the worse judgement ever. This fukked up system need an overhaul ASAP

  3. Knowledge on said:

    My ppl y so mad don’t u hv some Christmas shopping to do for ur white baby jesus. Wake my u hv been brainwashed the white man in actually thinking u where free.

  4. americanize on said:

    You c white folks stay on code,they will never throw their people under the bus for black folks.We better start doing for self these white folks show you everyday what they think of you.Look what happen in New Orleans white man murders x NFL player,cops don,t even arrest him,say they don,t know what to charge him with.No Respect.Open ur eyes black America,we r at war.

  5. specialt757 on said:

    This is unbelievable. This no good cop shot this UNARMED man running away from him and planted a tazer to make his case, all caught on video and this fucked up juror has the nerve to say he’s not guilty? WTF makes a cop in this country guilty? They can do whatever the hell they like, this is some BULLSHIT!!!!!!

      • specialt757 on said:

        The bottom line to the hold out juror eyes is that he believes Slager was not guilty. Other wise the outcome would have been a 12-0 to convict or a guilty verdict. I’m well aware that it was a hung jury and not an actual verdict and the good thing about that is, it’s not over, he can be re-tried hopefully with 12 competent jurors who saw the video for what it was. A lying white cop who tried to frame Scott while he shot him in the back 5 times in cold blood.

      • specialt757 on said:

        and btw I’m not your sista, I don’t have any white siblings and my mom and dad are not related.

  6. The jury must have had qualms about convicting that POS Slager-which is why it took them so long to come up with a verdict and ultimately resulted in the judge declaring a mistrial.

    No matter, this case will no doubt be re-tried with a different set of jurors. Maybe next time they can come to reach the correct verdict—GUILTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. The judge is trying to make sure there is no rioting and protest and that juror wont do they job. If you with a good mind know you wont convict then you should have said that during juror selection. Whomever it was saw the video before hand so I am not sure what the problem is.

  8. STOPTHEKILLINGS on said:

    GUILTY ON ALL CHARGES. IT’S ON VIDEO FOR GOD SAKE. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THAT JUROR. OH, HE IS A WHITE MALE. NO JUSTICE.

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