No one will get closure today.
Last year, police officer Michael Slager was accused of murder in the shooting death of unarmed black man Walter Scott.
Now, a judge has declared a mistrial in the state murder trial against the South Carolina former patrolman, after the jury said they could not come to a unanimous verdict.
Circuit Judge Clifton Newman read the jury’s statement on Monday afternoon, which read:
“We as the jury regret to inform the court [were unable to come] to a unanimous decision in the case of the state versus Michael Slager…The court therefore must declare a mistrial in this case and I so declare that is case is mistried.”
The defense in the five-week trial claimed Slager feared for his life when the 50-year-old Scott gained control over the officer’s stun gun and pointed it at him.
But the part of the encounter that was recorded on film — and garnered national attention — was afterward, when Scott was shot five times in the back while running away.
Slager was fired from the North Charleston police department after the April 4, 2015 confrontation but pleaded not guilty to the murder.
As the trial concluded last week, the jury was also allowed to consider a voluntary manslaughter charge at the request of the prosecution. However, this third option only added more confusion to the already undecided jury.
Slager isn’t off the hook just yet. He now faces federal trial, which is scheduled for next year.
[Image via Charleston County Sheriff’s Office.]