Mistrial declared in SC police officer murder trial

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- The Latest on the trial of a fired South Carolina police officer charged with murder in the shooting of an unarmed black motorist (all times local):

Prosecutors say they intend to retry a fired South Carolina police officer whose murder trial ended in a mistrial on Monday when jurors could not reach a verdict.

Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said Monday that she will retry the case against 35-year-old Michael Slager, who was being prosecuted in the death of an unarmed, black motorist Walter Scott. Jurors were also considering a lesser charge of voluntary man slaughter.

Slager also faces a trial in federal court next year on charges of depriving Scott of his civil rights.
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg and other community leaders urged calm as the trial began six weeks ago.

Tecklenburg says he and many in the community are disappointed but that Slager will again be in court.

Slager was fired from the North Charleston police department after shooting the 50-year-old  Scott during a traffic stop.

Statement from SC Gov. Nikki Haley: 

"It is my understanding that there will be, as quickly as possible, a new trial where the Scott family and all of South Carolina will hopefully receive the closure that a verdict brings. Justice is not always immediate, but we must all have faith that it will be served - I certainly do. I urge South Carolinians - in Charleston and across our state - to continue along the path we have walked these last two years: a path of grace, faith, love and understanding. That is who we are, and who I know we will continue to be."

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3:40 p.m.

A mistrial has been declared in the trial of a South Carolina police officer charged with murder in the death of a black motorist.

Circuit Judge Clifton Newman declared the mistrial after a jury said Monday that it was unable to unanimously agree on a verdict for Michael Slager.

The judge had told jurors they could also consider a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.

Slager was standing trial for shooting 50-year-old Walter Scott to death in North Charleston after stopping him for having a broken taillight. Cellphone video taken by a bystander of the shooting was shown widely in the media and on the internet and sparked national outrage.

Race was never made a major issue at trial, even though Slager is white and Scott was black.

Jurors had deliberated more than 22 hours over four days.

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10:45 a.m.

A majority of the jurors in the Michael Slager murder trial in South Carolina are undecided about a verdict in the case. The jury provided the court a note to that effect on Monday morning.

The note also asked a number of questions of the court, including why was voluntary manslaughter added as a charge, how long must someone have malice in their mind toward someone to be convicted of murder. Jurors also asked whether the definition of self-defense for a police officer is different that for the average person.

The jury has now deliberated more than 17 hours over four days in the trial on whether to acquit Slager or find him guilty of murder or voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of 50-year-old Walter Scott. Slager is a former North Charleston police officer.

On Friday, it appeared that the stalemate involved only one juror. But Monday's note said that a majority of the jurors on the panel of 11 whites and one black were still undecided.
 

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