Mistrial in South Carolina

By Linda Stockton 

The trial in the shooting death of Walter Scott has ended in a mistrial today.

Former North Charleston, South Carolina police officer, Michael Slager took the stand in his own defense stating that he shot Walter Scott “until the threat was stopped.” Walter Scott was pursued after fleeing the scene of a routine traffic stop according to police documents. Today, a jury of eleven white and one black juror declared a mistrial in the case. A witness, who recorded the shooting, testified that Scott was tasered but escaped the grasp of Officer Slager and was then shot as he ran away. Scott’s mother also gave an emotional testimonial as to her son’s character.

Walter Scott was an unarmed black man and was shot eight times by Slager. He died at the scene. Slager, a white man, denies any wrongdoing and defends his actions as self-defense” Slager testified that Scott wrestled with him and got possession of the officer’s taser. Chase ensued and when Slager again apprehended Scott in an empty lot approximately 200 yards from the initial stop, Slager alleges that Scott pointed the taser at him. At this point, Slager commanded Scott to surrender the weapon and Scott turned to run.  Slager began to fire.

Slager admits that he was confused and did not remember many of the facts of the incident and at one point described that his mind “was like spaghetti” during the incident. He only recalls feeling that his life was at risk and he felt it was within the scope of his duty shooting Scott. He also testified that his life had become a “rollercoaster” after this incident. The Associated Press reported that Slager was fired from the police department after the shooting. He still faces federal charges under civil rights laws and remains in custody at this time.

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