One juror refused to convict the South Carolina police officer who shot and killed Walter Scott as he ran away – even though the incident was captured on video – resulting in a mistrial Monday afternoon.
“I cannot and will not change my mind,” the lone juror was quoted as saying last week, even after the judge insisted the 12-person jury continue deliberating until reaching a decision.
But Judge Clifton Newman declared a mistrial today, allowing North Charleston police officer Michael Slager to possibly walk free.
“We as the jury regret to inform the court that despite the best efforts of all members, we are unable to come to a unanimous decision,” Clifton read from a note written by the jury, according to the Washington Post.
It is now up to prosecutors to determine if they want to retry Slager on manslaughter or murder for the April 4, 2105 incident.
But Slager was unaware that a witness named Feiden Santana was recording the incident, which is what led to him being charged in Scott’s death. He was also fired shortly after the video surfaced.
Slager, 35, had pulled over Scott, 50, for a broken taillight, but Scott fled, apparently to avoid going to jail for unpaid child support.
Slager chased him, then shot him five times in the back, then threw down a taser near his body in what appeared to be an attempt to make it seem as if Scott was trying to take it away from him – which would have justified the shooting.
“Shots fired and the subject is down. He took my taser.”
A police report stated that police officers attempted to administer CPR on Scott, but that is not evident on the video.
The trial lasted five weeks with a jury consisting of 11 white people and one black person.
At one point, Slager took the stand and cried, telling the jury that he was in “total fear” when Scott ripped the taser from his hand and pointed it at him – which he said took place before Santana began recording.
“I knew I was in trouble,” Slager testified. “I was scared.”
adding that Scott “was extending his right arm, leaning forward and coming at me.”
“I was scared” and in “total fear that Mr. Scott didn’t stop” resisting arrest, Slager said.
But the video shows Scott running away from Slager after some type of struggle, an action Slager described as a “threat.”
“At that point I pulled my firearm and pulled the trigger,” he said. “I fired until the threat was stopped as I was trained to do.”
The video shows Slager walking back to where the struggle had taken place, picking up his taser, then walking back and dropping it next to Scott’s body.
Slager testified he did this because police are trained to account for their weapons, which doesn’t really explain why he would drop it on the ground, but that was apparently enough for that one juror to not convict him.
Investigators determined that Slager was about 17 feet from Scott when he shot him.
This is breaking story which we will be updating.