Here's What's Next for the Police Officer Who Killed Walter Scott

December 5th 2016

Danielle DeCourcey

The jury in the case of the police officer who shot and killed Walter Scott deadlocked on Monday, resulting in a mistrial.

Walter Scott and Cop

The Killing of Walter Scott Made National Headlines.

Last week, a juror sent a note to Circuit Judge Clifton Newman saying that the jurors were struggling to reach a verdict. After more deliberations on Monday the jury was still unable to reach a verdict regarding the murder charge against former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager.

Slager testified last Tuesday that he feared for his life when he shot and killed Scott, claiming he tried to take his stun gun. However, video of the incident showed Slager shooting Scott in the back five times as Scott was running away.

The mistrial doesn't mean the case is over.

Slager faces federal charges that include violating Scott's civil rights and obstructing justice, and the Charleston County solicitor Scarlett Wilson said in a press release Monday that she will retry Slager in a criminal court.

"While I cannot overstate our disappointment that this case was not resolved, I commend those who sacrificed so much time, energy and effort to serve on this jury," Wilson said. "We will try Michael Slager again. We hope the federal and state courts will coordinate efforts regarding any future trial dates but we stand ready whenever the court calls."

There have been other high-profile mistrials in police shootings.

Mistrials are generally rare, with only an estimated 6 percent of felony trials end in a mistrial, according to the National Center for State Courts.

However, mistrials in police shootings have received a lot of attention this year.

On Nov. 12 a judge declared a mistrial in the case of a former University of Cincinnati police officer who shot and killed a man he pulled over for a missing license plate. Last year a judge declared a mistrial for Baltimore officer William Porter, who was driving the police transport van inside which Freddie Gray received lethal injuries.

The relative frequency of mistrials for police officers on trial for shootings was especially notable in 2015. Last year, five out of the seven police shooting cases that went to trial resulted in a mistrial, according to an investigation by the Washington Post.