The judge in the trial of Michael Slager, the former South Carolina officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man in the back in 2015, denied the defense's motion for a mistrial on Monday as the jury continued its fourth day of deliberations.
The now-infamous 2015 video that captured the incident showed Slager, who is white, firing his handgun multiple times, striking Walter Scott in the back as he ran away following a traffic stop related to a burned-out brake light.
After days of deliberation that started Wednesday night, the 12-member jury — made up of 11 white members and one black member — was deadlocked on Friday and a mistrial briefly appeared imminent.
Jurors told the court they "would not be able to come to a consensus" and notes from the jury appeared to refer to one juror who said he could not "in good conscience" convict Slager.
Judge Clifton Newman then issued an "Allen Charge" on Friday, an instruction encouraging the jurors to deliberate further until they can reach a unanimous verdict.
Instead of accepting a mistrial as requested by the defense on Friday, the jury foreperson said further explanation of the law might help them reach a verdict. However, the jury later announced they had not reached a verdict and would continue deliberating Monday.
On Monday, Newman denied the defense's motion for mistrial, siding with the prosecution, who had argued against it.
In a note to the judge on Monday, the jury foreman said, "the majority of jurors were undecided."
The jurors also sent the judge a series of questions related to the law, including the meaning of "imminent danger," according to reporters present at the trial. Slager's lawyers have argued he feared for his life when he shot Scott.
The jury also asked questions about the difference between murder and voluntary manslaughter — both of which Slager is charged with — and the definition of "malice aforethought."
After the judge answered their questions, the jury resumed deliberations.
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