A mistrial has been declared in the case against Michael Slager, the former police officer that shot and killed Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, in South Carolina in April 2015.
A circuit judge confirmed the mistrial after the jury was unable to come to a unanimous decision. “The court therefore must declare a mistrial in this case and I so declare that is case is mistried,” he stated.
Slager shot Walter Scott in the back repeatedly, killing him. At the time of the shooting, Scott was already 15 to 20 feet from Slager and running away.
Video taken by a bystander showed Slager placing a weapon by Scott’s body after the shooting, in an apparent attempt to plant a weapon on him. When the officer radioed a dispatcher, he explicitly lied, stating that Scott had taken his Taser.
Scott’s shooting is one of the most clearly unjustified police killings in recent memory.
After the shooting, the FBI, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney in South Carolina, and local law enforcement each opened separate investigations into Scott’s death.
Yet last week a jury failed to convict Slager of murder and manslaughter. Reports say that one juror refused to convict. The jury included 11 white jurors and only one black person.
38% of the population of North Charleston is white, and yet 92% of the jury was. This is not incidental to the outcome.