WASHINGTON – After a jury’s deadlock caused a mistrial Monday afternoon, the prosecutor in Charleston County, South Carolina is vowing to retry the former police officer whose deadly shooting of a motorist in the back was captured on a bystander’s video.
Michael Slager, 35, was charged with murder. He shot Walter Scott, 50, eight times – five in the back – after he ran away during a traffic stop for a broken brake light in April 2015. Slager is white and Scott was black.
“We will try Michael Slager again,” Scarlett A. Wilson, the prosecutor for Charleston County, S.C. said in a statement released Monday afternoon. Alluding to Slager’s pending trial on federal charges, she added: “We hope the federal and state courts will coordinate efforts regarding any future trial dates but we stand ready whenever the court calls.”
Circuit Judge Clifton Newman declared the mistrial after the jury of 11 white people and one black man informed him in a note that there were unable to come to a unanimous decision after a day of deliberations and questions.
During deliberations on Friday, when the jury first indicated that they were deadlocked, a male juror wrote the judge a note that read in part: “I still cannot, without a reasonable doubt, convict the defendant. … I cannot and will not change my mind.”
Jurors deliberated until about 6 p.m. Friday before Newman sent them home.
On Monday, the jury resumed deliberations and asked the judge several questions. Later, the jury informed him that they could not reach a unanimous decision. He declared a mistrial without polling the jurors.
A key piece of evidence in the trial was a cell-phone video – widely viewed online and seen several times by the jury – that shows Slager chasing Scott, then shooting him in the back. Prosecutors said the two were 18 feet apart when Slager opened fire.
Slager testified that he fired his weapon in self-defense, arguing that Scott could have turned around and charged him.