Criminal Justice

Mistrial is declared in trial of cop accused of fatally shooting unarmed black man

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A South Carolina judge on Monday declared a mistrial in the prosecution of a police officer accused of fatally shooting a black man who was running away from him after a traffic stop.

Judge Clifton Newman declared the mistrial after jurors indicated for a second time that they couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict in the case against former North Charleston officer Michael Slager, the New York Times reports.

Jurors had indicated on Friday that a holdout juror prevented unanimity; the juror said in a letter to the judge that he couldn’t “in good conscience consider a guilty verdict.”

The shooting was captured on video by a bystander. Slager testified during the trial that he believed he was in danger because the driver, Walter Scott, had grabbed his Taser during a struggle, and he didn’t realize that Scott had dropped it, the Washington Post reports. Slager said that he had “fired until the threat was stopped, like I’m trained to do.”

Jurors had the option of convicting Slager of murder or manslaughter. He is also facing a federal indictment accusing him of civil rights violations.

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