Judge declares mistrial in police shooting of unarmed South Carolina motorist

Following four days of deliberations in which one holdout jurist prevented a unanimous verdict, a South Carolina judge Monday declared a mistrial in the case of Michael Slager, the former North Charleston police officer accused of murder in the shooting death of motorist Walter Scott.

Scott was shot by Slager on April 4, 2015, as he fled the scene of a traffic stop.

The incident, captured on both dash-cam and cellphone video, shows Slager stopping Scott, Scott’s flight from the automobile and his second flight in which he is fatally shot.

Four days following the shooting, Slager was dismissed from the North Charleston Police Department.

Charged with murder, which in South Carolina means the prosecution had to prove “malice aforethought”, Slager argued self defense on the witness stand and contended the cellphone video capturing the incident did not explain the entire story.

Following the end of oral arguments, Judge Newman instructed the jury to also consider a charge of voluntary manslaughter or to acquit the defendant.

Facing a jury hopelessly stalemated, the presiding judge declared a mistrial after the jury foreman informed him of the impasse.

Disputing early claims the jury was deadlocked by a solitary member, foreman Dorsey Montgomery revealed as many as six jurors held reservations about Slager’s actions and intent during an interview with the Today show.

After dismissing the jury, Ninth Judicial Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson vowed to retry Slager, who also faces a federal trial in 2017.

 

[CNN] [DailyMail] [Photo courtesy Daily Mirror]