The trial of a white South Carolina police officer who shot a black man in the back as he slowly jogged away has resulted in a surprising mistrial.
A mistrial was declared today in the state murder trial of former North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer Michael Slager, who was accused in the shooting death of an unarmed black man.
The jury said they were unable to come to unanimous decision.
Slager, who is white, was accused of killing Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, at a traffic stop on April 4, 2015, in North Charleston while Slager was an officer with the city’s police department. Witness video that surfaced shortly after the deadly encounter appears to show the moment Slager fatally shot Scott as he ran away. The video garnered national attention, propelling Slager into the spotlight. Slager was fired from the force after the shooting, according to The Associated Press.
Slager had pleaded not guilty to murder. But as the trial concluded last week, the jury was also allowed to consider a voluntary manslaughter charge, officials told ABC News. The voluntary manslaughter charge was requested by the prosecution and the judge allowed it based on testimony he heard during the trial.
Eleven members of the 12-person jury were reported to be in favor of convicting Slager on the murder charge on Friday by several news outlets, with a lone juror apparently convinced that Slager was not guilty of either murder or voluntary manslaughter. Another account released earlier today, however, suggested that most of the jurors were undecided.
Slager will almost certainly be retried again on the state level with a different jury.
He also faces a federal civil rights trial in 2017 in Scott’s death.