Once again, it seems impossible to get a fair verdict in what should have been an open-and-shut case involving a police officer.
Officer Michael Slager was caught on video shooting Walter Scott in the back as he was running away after a traffic stop.
But one juror simply couldn't manage to fairly deliberate. One juror, and as anyone who has ever served on a jury knows, that's all it takes.
As prosecutors and Mr. Slager’s defense lawyers consider their options, they are certain to consider the feedback that emerged from a jury that appeared bitterly divided during deliberations that began on Wednesday. In a letter to Judge Newman on Friday, a single juror said he could not “in good conscience consider a guilty verdict.”
Why this was not a basis for replacing said juror with an alternate, I do not know. It seems clear that juror was not deliberating in good faith.
But the jury’s foreman, the only black member of the panel, said in a separate note to the judge that the group was mostly in agreement that Mr. Slager should be convicted: “It’s just one juror that has the issues.” The foreman also said, “That juror needs to leave. He is having issues.”
Prosecutors say they will retry Mr. Slager. My bet is on them hitting some kind of a plea deal with him instead, because it just seems to be true that police officers get a pass on wanton murder of unarmed citizens if they're black.
Twitter erupted in outrage over it, and rightly so.
I don't see this getting any better in the days to come. In fact, I'd guess police will feel empowered to shoot anyone they damn well please without consequences.