Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Walter Scott appears in his Coast Guard uniform in this undated photo. (Credit: The Scott family)

Walter Scott appears in his Coast Guard uniform in this undated photo. (Credit: The Scott family)

An 'Abomination' of Justice: Mistrial Declared Over Police Shooting of Walter Scott

Video showed Scott being shot five times in the back while running from North Charleston police officer Michael Slager

Lauren McCauley

The judge presiding over the case of Walter Scott, who in April 2015 was shot in the back by former South Carolina police officer Michael Slager, was forced to declare a mistrial on Monday after the jury announced that they were unable to come "to a unanimous decision."

"The court therefore must declare a mistrial in this case and I so declare that is case is mistried," Circuit Judge Clifton Newman declared after the jury announced the deadlock. The news comes after a single holdout juror sent a letter to Newman on Friday saying that he "cannot in good conscience consider a guilty verdict."

The defense had reportedly "claimed that [Slager] feared for his life when 50-year-old Walter Scott got control of the officer's stun gun and pointed it at him. But," NBC notes, "Scott was shot five times in the back while running from Slager."

Indeed, the shooting—which was captured on video—catalyzed fierce local and national protests against police brutality, particularly against people of color, and spurred calls for a widespread overhaul of the justice system. 

However, unlike the cases of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and countless others in which the police officers were not indicted, a federal grand jury charged Slager on three counts: "a federal civil rights offense for the shooting, excessive force without legal justification, and obstruction of justice for making false statements to South Carolina Law Enforcement Division investigators," as Common Dreams previously reported.

According to reports from the courtroom, the Scott family walked "out of the room to silence in [the] hall." Afterwards, Walter Scott's mother, Judy Scott, told reporters: "He will get his just reward...I'm just waiting on the Lord...It's not over until God says it's over."

Many others took to social media to voice their outrage over the ruling:


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Top 10 US Billionaires Got $1 Billion Richer Every Day of Pandemic

"Each made about the same in a single minute as the average American household earns in an entire year. This can't continue," said Americans for Tax Fairness.

Jake Johnson ·


360+ Climate Groups to Biden: Phase Out Fossil Fuels on Public Lands

"The natural place to start phasing out climate-destroying oil and gas production is on our public lands and oceans, and Biden has the authority to do so. If the U.S. leads, the world will follow."

Jenna McGuire ·


14-Year-Old Indigenous Land Defender Killed in Colombia

"We condemn the killing of Breiner David Cucuñame!" says Fridays for Future MAPA. "We join the calls for justice and stand in solidarity with the environmental defenders in Colombia and across the world!"

Jessica Corbett ·


Lyft Makes Largest Donation in Massachusetts History to Keep Drivers Down

The more than $14 million went to a coalition fighting to stop ride-hailing and delivery companies from having to classify their drivers as employees.

Brett Wilkins ·


Catching Up With Progressives, Biden to Provide N95s Nationwide

Sen. Bernie Sanders, who introduced the Masks for All Act in July 2020, called the move "a good first step."

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo