After the jury said it was hopelessly deadlocked in the trial of Michael Slager, the white South Carolina police officer who fatally shot Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, last year, the judge on Monday officially declared a mistrial in the case.
The decision comes after the deadlocked jury passed notes to the judge late last week asking for the difference between “fear” and “passion” and then for the testimony of the eyewitness who shot the cellphone video of the deadly confrontation before concluding that it wouldn’t sway any of the jurors. The jury had been deliberating for 22 hours, according to the Post and Courier.
Slager still faces federal charges that could carry a sentence of lifetime imprisonment. In a statement, Charleston County prosecutor Scarlett Wilson confirmed: “We will try Michael Slager again.”
Slager shot Scott—five of which hitting him in the back five times–after a traffic stop in 2015. He faced murder charges for his role in Scott’s death. Slager pursued Scott on foot after he started to flee the stop and used his police Taser on Scott. The ex-cop maintained during the trial that Scott tried to grab the Taser away, making him fear for his life.
Scott’s death became a flashpoint in the nationwide fight against police brutality after a cellphone video of the shooting surfaced. The disturbing video, shot by a bystander, shows Slager open fire on Scott as he runs away, hitting him in the back. Even after Scott laid face-down and motionless on the ground, Slager could be heard shouting instructions to put his hands behind his back and put handcuffs on Scott.