Single Juror Refuses to Convict Cop in SC Murder Trial

Jury appears deadlocked in Slager case
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2016 6:50 AM CST
Lone Juror Is Holding Out in SC Police Shooting Trial
Former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager walks from the courthouse during his murder trial at the Charleston County court in Charleston, SC, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.   (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

After more than two days of deliberations, a single juror is refusing to convict South Carolina ex-cop Michael Slager in the fatal shooting of unarmed black motorist Walter Scott. The jury's foreman told the judge Friday that only one person on the jury of 11 whites and one African-American "has issues" preventing them from reaching a verdict, the Los Angeles Times reports. "I cannot in good conscience consider a guilty verdict," the juror wrote in a letter read out in court. "We all struggle with the death of a man and with all that has been put before us,” the juror wrote. "I still cannot, without a reasonable doubt, convict the defendant. At the same time, my heart does not want to have to tell the Scott family that the man who killed their son, brother and father is innocent. But with the choices, I cannot and will not change my mind."

Slager, who was filmed shooting Scott in the back as he ran away, was charged with murder but the jury also has the option of convicting him of manslaughter, and it's not clear which charge the 11 jurors are leaning toward, the AP reports. When the jury told Circuit Judge Clifton Newman on Friday afternoon they had been unable to reach a verdict, he ordered them to resume deliberations, telling them they had a "duty to make every reasonable effort to reach a unanimous verdict," NBC reports. At the end of the day, the jury said they wanted to return Monday for more deliberations. If they remain deadlocked, a mistrial will be declared. (Slager will face a federal civil rights trial next year.)

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