Twelve jurors in the trial of a South Carolina ex-police officer are deadlocked in deciding whether the officer is guilty of murder or voluntary manslaughter. This is even after there was video of Michael Slager, 35, shooting 50-year-old Walter Scott in the back while Scott was running away from the scene.
According to the New York Daily News, the jury that consists of 11 whites and one Black man went through three days of deliberations before twice declaring on Friday that they were not close to delivering a unanimous decision. Apparently there was one lone juror who swore that he couldn’t “in good conscience” convict Slager beyond a reasonable doubt.
“I cannot and will not change my mind,” the juror wrote.
This almost led the judge to a declare a mistrial, but the jury decided to request one more round of legal clarification between murder and manslaughter on Monday, the Daily News noted.
During the trial, Slager testified that he was afraid of Scott and claimed that the 50-year-old tried to grab his taser and the two tussled before the shooting.
“I saw that Taser coming at me and I knew I was in trouble,” he testified. “I knew I was overpowered.”
However a video of the incident taken by a bystander shows a different scenario. According to footage shot by Feidin Santana, Slager seemed to have the situation under control even after tasing Scott and him running off down the street. Slager later shot eight rounds into Scott.
According to the autopsy, three bullets struck Scott in the upper back, one in the lower and one hit one of his ears, the Daily News reported. Slager then restaged the scene by dropping his taser close to Scott’s body. He also never attempted to give Scott CPR, prosecutors said.
Reaction to this shocking news was swift on Twitter:
If the jury cannot hand down a verdict by early next week, a mistrial will be called. If Slager is found guilty of murder he could face 30 years to life, while manslaughter is punishable by 2 to 30 years.