CHARLESTON, S.C. — The trial of Michael T. Slager, the North Charleston police officer whose videotaped killing of an unarmed black man staggered the nation as it was embroiled in debate about police misconduct and racial biases in law enforcement, ended in a mistrial on Monday.
Judge Clifton B. Newman’s decision to halt the proceedings came three days after jurors signaled that they were within one vote of returning a guilty verdict against Mr. Slager, who could have been convicted of either murder or voluntary manslaughter for the killing of Walter L. Scott. But jurors also sent conflicting messages on Friday about whether they could break their impasse, setting off a confused legal frenzy.
On Monday, though, the panel of 11 white people and a black man again sent word that it would not be able to reach a unanimous verdict about Mr. Slager’s conduct, prompting the mistrial ruling.
Judge Newman thanked the jurors for their efforts.
Prosecutors had signaled before the ruling that they expect to bring the case again, but there is a possibility that the indictment could be resolved through a plea agreement.
As prosecutors and Mr. Slager’s defense lawyers consider their options, they are certain to consider the feedback that emerged from a jury that appeared bitterly divided during deliberations that began on Wednesday. In a letter to Judge Newman on Friday, a single juror said he could not “in good conscience consider a guilty verdict.”
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Featured image courtesy of NBC News.