Once again Black America is witness to the spectacle of a cop who killed an unarmed Black man walking free. The trial of North Charleston police officer Michael Slager has ended in a mistrial because of one holdout juror. The juror was apparently unflinching in his belief that Slager did nothing wrong in killing Scott and staging the crime scene. Scott was stopped for a minor traffic violation and was shot in the back by Slager while Scott was running away. Slager later alleged he killed Scott over a struggle with his Taser, but that was later determined to be a false statement. The incident was caught on video by a witness at the scene.Slager shot a fleeing Scott eight times in the back and stated that he was in fear of his life.
Slager was tried for murder and the jury of 11 Whites and one Black announced to the judge that one male juror had caused a deadlock after intense deliberation. The juror sent a note to the judge that stated in part “I cannot in good conscience consider a guilty verdict … I cannot and will not change my mind.”
Judge Clifton B. Newman read a note yesterday from the jury foreman that stated they were hopelessly deadlocked. Newman then stated, “The court, therefore, must declare a mistrial in this case. Thank you for your valiant effort and hard work. That’s the way our system works.”
Slager faced life in prison upon conviction.
The declaration was devastating to Scott’s mother, who said, “it’s not over until God says it’s over.”. The prosecutor’s office is expected to seek a new trial with a different jury pool.
It will be a daunting attempt to find an unbiased jury that is unaware of the news and details of the Walter Scott killing. Last year, North Charleston Mayor R. Keith Summey announced that a settlement of $6.5 million had been reached with the Scott family. “I am glad the city and the family were able to reach a settlement without the necessity of a lawsuit. … Both sides have met many times and worked very hard over the past several months to resolve this matter. As a result of this tragedy, important issues have been discussed not only in North Charleston but around the country. … Citizens have become engaged in the process and government officials are listening,” said Summey.
But Scott’s legal battle is still not over since he is also facing a federal lawsuit for violation of Scott’s civil rights.