One juror is standing between former North Charleston police Officer Michael Slager becoming one of the few police officers in the last decade to be convicted of murder.
Deliberations began on Thursday in the case, and 11 of the 12 members of the jury ― which consists of six white men, five white women and one black man, despite Charleston county being 28 percent black ― have come to the conclusion that Slager should be found guilty on murder charges stemming from the fatal shooting of Walter Scott in April.
If the final juror cannot reach an agreement with his counterparts, the case will be declared a mistrial — and he doesn’t seem like he’s going to change his mind.
“I cannot in good conscience consider a guilty verdict,” the juror, who is a white man, wrote in a note provided to the judge by the jury foreman. “I cannot and will not change my mind.”
While the judge has ordered the jury to continue deliberating until a decision is reached, the other jurors wrote in two separate letters that the lone juror who is supporting a verdict of not guilty “needs to leave” and is “having issues.”
Deliberations are scheduled to resume Monday.
Some people’s refusal to consider Slager’s guilt has baffled many pundits and writers who have been following the case throughout the year.
Slager, who pulled Scott over for a broken taillight on April 4, 2015, claims to have been in “total fear” before he pulled the trigger eight times.
But a video taken by bystander Feindin Santana shows that Scott, who was unarmed, was shot in the back from 17 feet away as he ran away from Slager. The video also shows Slager dropping what seems to be a taser next to Scott’s unmoving body — a weapon he says Scott took from him during a scuffle — before handcuffing the victim rather than administering first aid.
Warning: This video contains graphic imagery.
Scott, who formerly served in the Coast Guard, was the father of four children.
“He was outgoing ― loved everybody, [was] very known in the community and got along with everybody,” his brother Anthony Scott told CNN in April. “All the family loves him, and his kids loved him.”
CORRECTION: This article originally stated that the jury was made up of five white men, four white women and one black man with one outstanding juror.
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more informationTrack ballot status
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place