Michael T. Slager, a police officer who shot an unarmed black man who was running away, is walking free (for now) after a mistrial was declared. The jury assigned to the case could not come to a unanimous decision.
Although cops walking free from similar incidents has become the status quo, the jury this time was close to delivering a guilty verdict. According to the New York Times, the jurors "signaled they were within one vote" of charging the officer with murder or voluntary manslaughter. They ultimately could not arrive at that conclusion.
“The fight isn’t over, that was Round 1,” said L. Chris Stewart, a lawyer for Mr. Scott’s family. “We all saw what he did. We all saw what happened.”
Prosecutors are now figuring out how to restart the process.
This case is particularly significant in that Slager's crimes against Walter Scott were caught, rather plainly, on cellphone video. Even with such evidence, policemen seem nearly impossible to convict.
“It saddens me, but I am not shocked,” said Howard Friedman, a civil rights lawyer and the former president of the National Police Accountability Project. “The fact that out of 12 people, you would find one person so prejudiced in favor of police is saddening, not shocking, because I know that kind of prejudice in favor of police is out there.”
If Slager was convicted, he could have faced a life sentence. If he was convicted of mansluaghter, he could have faced two to 30 years in prison.
The incident has (once again) reignited the debate about police brutality and racial biases in policing throughout the country, but especially in the South.
“God is my strength, and I know without a doubt that he is a just God,” said Mr. Scott’s mother, Judy Scott. “Injustice will not prevail.”
[Photo: Getty Images]