The jury in South Carolina reported today it’s deadlocked in the trial of the police officer who killed Walter Scott.
They deliberated 14 hours over three days and decided they can’t decide whether this constitutes murder.
As I wrote at the time, what would have happened if someone hadn’t been filming the whole thing? At the time, it seemed obvious that a guy, stopped for a broken tail light, ought not be shot in the back running away. Who could disagree?
“When you’re wrong, you’re wrong,” the city’s mayor even said at the time. “If you make a bad decision, don’t care if you’re behind the shield or just a citizen on the street, you have to live by that decision.”
What is the jury seeing here that few others seem to see? Or not seeing here that everyone else can see?
This afternoon, the jury had sent the judge a message that they wanted to read the transcript of the testimony of a man who took cellphone video above. The judge said they could listen to the testimony but they responded that that wouldn’t change anything.
“It was an injustice what I saw,” Feidin Santana, who filmed the killing, had testified.
The defense attorney questioned Santana about lyrics to a song he’d earlier written, lyrics with an anti-police view, he said.
“I am against police brutality,” said Santana. “I don’t tolerate injustice.”
The police officer testified that he feared for his life when he shot the 50-year-old Scott in the back as he ran away.
The jury can return a verdict of voluntary manslaughter, which is killing someone in the heat of passion. A murder charge required the jury to find an evil intent.