Update 6:15 p.m. ET December 2, 2016: The jury in the Michael Slager case is reported to have been asked by Judge Clifton Newman to continue deliberations, with one member of the group described as a “holdout,” as reported by Reuters.
“I cannot in good conscience consider a guilty verdict,” a note written by the juror to Judge Newman was said to state, “at the same time, my heart does not want to tell the Scott family that the man who killed their son, brother and father is innocent.”
The judge stated that if the jury is not able to reach a unanimous verdict he will declare a mistrial and retry the charges at a later date, with a new jury.
Update 5:40 p.m ET: Live 5 News is reporting that the jury has requested transcripts of testimony given in the case and that the defense is requesting that, if found guilty, Michael Slager is allowed delayed sentencing.
Original article: The fate of the former North Charleston, South Carolina police officer, Michael Slager, who was responsible for the shooting death of Walter Scott, is now in the hands of the jury. Judge Clifton Newman gave instructions to the jurors late yesterday afternoon in the Charleston County Courthouse, as reported by ABC.
The jury was reported to have deliberated the Michael Slager verdict for one hour last night after receiving instructions, and a further two hours today. CNN is reporting that there is “no indication” as to whether the jury has moved toward any sort of decision about Slager’s innocence or guilt.
In instructing the jury, Judge Newman gave them three choices: acquitting Slager, convicting him of murder, or convicting him of voluntary manslaughter.”
A guilty verdict on the murder charge carries a 30-years to life sentence. The manslaughter charge carries two to 30 years in prison.
Footage of the shooting, which occurred on April 5, 2015, following a traffic stop, was shared widely on both traditional and social media after Feidin Santana, on his way to work, shot video on a cell phone that appears to show Michael Slager shooting Walter Scott in the back as he ran away from the officer.
After Scott was shot and laying on the ground bleeding, Slager could be seen walking over to the man, telling him to put his hands behind his back, and then handcuffing him.
Slager testified that he was in a state of “total fear” when he shot Scott. The police officer claimed Scott had grabbed his Taser and threatened him with it after being tased several times. Walter Scott then ran away, and he was shot in the back as he fled.
The jury is reported to be comprised of one black and 11 white members, as reported by AP via Fox News. The jurors were said to have visited the site of the shooting, a vacant lot in North Charleston, as part of their consideration. The video shot by Santana was shared so widely that of 190 potential jurors, just nine had not seen the footage.
Defense counsel Andy Savage reportedly told jurors that the Walter Scott video footage available does not show the “whole story,” and Slager had no way to determine that Scott wasn’t armed when he shot him.
Prosecutor Scarlett Wilson was said to have described the defense’s pleas to the jury as “lots of smoke” and accused Michael Slager of making up his story before the cell phone video footage was made available.
Wilson described fellow North Charleston police officers buying everything Slager said about the day “hook, line and sinker.”
Footage from the day shows Michael Slager picking the Taser up from where it had originally been thrown and moving it closer to the Walter Scott as he lay bleeding to death on the ground.
A murder conviction and a manslaughter conviction carry different standards to be considered by the jury. Murder is committed when a perpetrator harbors true malice, while manslaughter is committed when death occurs after a perpetrator has been provoked.
Scarlett Wilson was reported to contend that even if Scott provoked Slager by resisting arrest, shooting him as a response was inappropriate.
Savage is reported to have held that Michael Slager was justified in shooting Scott because he “chose to attack a police officer.”
Following the shooting of Scott, peaceful protests were held in North Charleston. However, they were not marked by violence as was observed in the wake of other, seemingly comparable shooting deaths of African-American men at the hands of police, such as in Charlotte, North Carolina following the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott, as previously reported by the Inquisitr.
Walter Scott’s family specifically asked for calm in the wake of his death.
[Featured Image by Grace Beahm-Pool/Getty Images]