Mistrial declared in black motorist's shooting in South Carolina - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Mistrial declared in black motorist's shooting in South Carolina

By BRUCE SMITH and SEANNA ADCOX
Associated Press

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - A South Carolina judge has declared a mistrial after a jury deadlocked in the murder trial of a white police officer charged in the shooting death of an unarmed black motorist.

Circuit Judge Clifton Newman declared a mistrial in the case after a jury said it could not reach a verdict after deliberating more than 22 hours over four days.

Former patrolman Michael Slager was charged with murder in the April 4, 2015 shooting death of 50-year-old Walter Scott. The judge had said the jury could also consider a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.

Cellphone video showing taken by a bystander that showed Scott being shot in the back was shown widely in the media and on the internet and shocked the country, inflaming the national debate about how blacks are treated by law enforcement officers.

After the video went public, Slager was fired by the police department and charged with murder. Scott's family called for peace in the North Charleston community. Their calls for calm are believed to have helped prevent the kind of violence that erupted elsewhere when black men were killed in encounters with law enforcement.

It's the second time in recent weeks a jury has deadlocked in an officer-involved shooting. A mistrial was declared Nov. 12 when a jury in Cincinnati couldn't reach a verdict in the case of a former campus police officer who was also charged with shooting a black motorist.

The video in the Scott slaying renewed debate over how blacks are treated by white law officers. There have been similar debates over race and policing in places from New York to Ferguson, Missouri and from Tulsa, Oklahoma to North Carolina.

Scott was pulled in North Charleston for having a broken taillight on his 1990 Mercedes and then fled the car, running into a vacant lot. Family members have said he may have run because he was worried about going to jail because he was $18,000 behind on child support.

The prosecution argued that the 35-year-old Slager let his sense of authority get the better of him.

The defense maintained that the two men wrestled on the ground, that Scott got control of Slager's stun gun and then pointed the weapon at the 35-year-old officer before the shooting. The defense also contended there was no way the officer could tell if Scott was armed.

Much of the testimony at the trial centered on the cellphone video, which at times was blurry and shaky. The jurors saw the video numerous times, including several times frame by frame.

Last year, the city of North Charleston reached a $6.5 million civil settlement with Scott's family. In the wake of the shooting, the city also asked that the U.S. Justice Department conduct a review of its police department policies with an eye toward how the department can improve its relationship with residents.

Slager also faces trial next year in federal court on charges of depriving Scott of his civil rights.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • S. Korea: Joint US drills suspended to aid talks with North

    S. Korea: Joint US drills suspended to aid talks with North

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 1:50 AM EDT2018-06-19 05:50:33 GMT
    Tuesday, June 19 2018 8:32 AM EDT2018-06-19 12:32:08 GMT
    (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon). A photo showing U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is displayed as a member of People's Democratic Party stands to oppose military exercises between the United States and South Korea near the U.S....(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon). A photo showing U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is displayed as a member of People's Democratic Party stands to oppose military exercises between the United States and South Korea near the U.S....

    South Korea says a joint military exercise scheduled with the U.S. has been suspended to support ongoing talks both countries have with North Korea.

    South Korea says a joint military exercise scheduled with the U.S. has been suspended to support ongoing talks both countries have with North Korea.

  • Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

    Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 1:10 AM EDT2018-06-19 05:10:31 GMT
    Tuesday, June 19 2018 8:31 AM EDT2018-06-19 12:31:24 GMT
    (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite). The Capitol is seen in Washington, Friday, June 15, 2018. Calls are mounting on Capitol Hill for the Trump administration to end the separation of families at the southern border ahead of a visit from President Donald Tr...(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite). The Capitol is seen in Washington, Friday, June 15, 2018. Calls are mounting on Capitol Hill for the Trump administration to end the separation of families at the southern border ahead of a visit from President Donald Tr...

    Calls are mounting for President Trump to end family separations at the border ahead of a meeting with House Republicans.

    Calls are mounting for President Trump to end family separations at the border ahead of a meeting with House Republicans.

  • In tit-for-tat, Trump threatens more tariffs against China

    In tit-for-tat, Trump threatens more tariffs against China

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 12:20 AM EDT2018-06-19 04:20:31 GMT
    Tuesday, June 19 2018 8:31 AM EDT2018-06-19 12:31:23 GMT
    President Donald Trump gestures as he signs a "Space Policy Directive" during a meeting of the National Space Council in the East Room of the White House, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Washington, as Vice President Mike Pence watches.  AP Photo/Susan Walsh)President Donald Trump gestures as he signs a "Space Policy Directive" during a meeting of the National Space Council in the East Room of the White House, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Washington, as Vice President Mike Pence watches. AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

    A new 10 percent tariff on $200 billion in Chinese imports is being threatened by Trump in the latest move toward what could become a trade war.

    A new 10 percent tariff on $200 billion in Chinese imports is being threatened by Trump in the latest move toward what could become a trade war.

Powered by Frankly