The Latest: Mistrial declared in police officer murder trial
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – The Latest on the trial of a fired South Carolina police officer charged with murder in the shooting of an unarmed black motorist (all times local):
A mistrial has been declared in the trial of a South Carolina police officer charged with murder in the death of a black motorist.
Circuit Judge Clifton Newman declared the mistrial after a jury said Monday that it was unable to unanimously agree on a verdict for Michael Slager.
The judge had told jurors they could also consider a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.
Slager was standing trial for shooting 50-year-old Walter Scott to death in North Charleston after stopping him for having a broken taillight. Cellphone video taken by a bystander of the shooting was shown widely in the media and on the internet and sparked national outrage.
Race was never made a major issue at trial, even though Slager is white and Scott was black.
Jurors had deliberated more than 22 hours over four days.
A majority of the jurors in the Michael Slager murder trial in South Carolina are undecided about a verdict in the case. The jury provided the court a note to that effect on Monday morning.
The note also asked a number of questions of the court, including why was voluntary manslaughter added as a charge, how long must someone have malice in their mind toward someone to be convicted of murder. Jurors also asked whether the definition of self-defense for a police officer is different that for the average person.
The jury has now deliberated more than 17 hours over four days in the trial on whether to acquit Slager or find him guilty of murder or voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of 50-year-old Walter Scott. Slager is a former North Charleston police officer.
On Friday, it appeared that the stalemate involved only one juror. But Monday’s note said that a majority of the jurors on the panel of 11 whites and one black were still undecided.
Jurors deciding the fate of fired South Carolina patrolman accused of murder in the death of a black motorist are expected to have questions for the judge Monday morning before their deliberations resume.
The jury of 11 whites and one black has already discussed the case for 16 hours without reaching a verdict and late Friday appeared to be deadlock before the foreman said he thought they could reach a unanimous verdict.
Michael Slager is charged in the shooting death last year of 50-year-old Walter Scott who was shot fleeing a traffic stop in North Charleston. The shooting was captured on cellphone video that was seen widely.
Circuit Judge Clifton Newman hasn’t said what questions jurors have for him before they can continue their discussions.
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