The murder trial of Michael Slager, the South Carolina patrolman who was filmed shooting unarmed black motorist Walter Scott, ended in a mistrial on Monday when the jury could not reach consensus on a verdict.
The result drew strong reactions from politicians and public figures, some of whom were anticipating a guilty verdict from the jury. Slager was facing a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Oregon Sen. Jeff Murkley, a Democrat, called the mistrial declaration “inexplicable, infuriating, tragic.”
Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro said “our legal system failed.”
South Carolina Republican Party chairman Matt Moore had perhaps the most forceful rebuke:
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg gave a neutral statement, expressing disappointment in the result without stating a preferred verdict.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley did the same:
“It is my understanding that there will be, as quickly as possible, a new trial where the Scott family and all of South Carolina will hopefully receive the closure that a verdict brings,” Haley said in a statement on Monday.
“Justice is not always immediate, but we must all have faith that it will be served — I certainly do,” she said. “I urge South Carolinians — in Charleston and across our state — to continue along the path we have walked these last two years: a path of grace, faith, love and understanding.”
Haley issued a strong rebuke of Slager’s actions last year, saying they were “not reflective of our values,” and adding that “we have a responsibility to make our communities safer and stronger and prevent another tragedy in our state going forward.”
Meanwhile, North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey barely said anything at all:
The jury had signalled on Friday it was facing a deadlock, with one juror saying he was unwilling to convict the former North Charleston officer. Further clarification of the law from Judge Clement Newman did little to break the stalemate on Monday.
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