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    Police Officer Michael Slager on trial for murder.

    UPDATE 3:45 p.m. – Judge declares mistrial.


    The jury in the trial of police Officer Michael Slager in the shooting death of Walter Scott continues to deliberate this morning, after being deadlocked on Friday.

    Background on the case, trial and jury deliberations is in our prior post.

    Here is the live stream of the courtroom (if doesn’t load, check here or here for alternative feeds):

    This mornings developments, Judge denied motion for mistrial, says latest notes don’t indicate jury still deadlocked, court has obligation to respond to questions when jury seeks help with the law.

    Early afternoon developments, court provided answers to jury questions:


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    There was a story “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” by Timothy Zahn. He later expanded it into a novel called “Cobra”. The theme of the story was an augmented soldier ( at the time this was one of the few stories with such ) who returned home after a war and how he was received.

    One day he is walking home and some brainless idiots decide to play a form of “chicken” with him and try to run him down. He dodges and as they drive away he shoots out their tires causing them to crash and die.

    We then learn from city officials that they have implanted a computer into the soldiers brains, which cannot be removed, which takes over and continues fighting until the threat is neutralized.

    I bring this up because after the fact, I listened to the testimony of the defense memory expert, and heard a scary thing. That is pretty much how our brains are wired. Once we engage in battle, or any physical reaction, our body is going on “muscle memory”.

    The question then becomes when do we regain our ability to change our actions.

    This seems to have happened to Slager. Testimony showed his tazer was his “goto” weapon. When Scott took it, Slager was forced to use his gun. He is even heard saying so. “Don’t make me shoot you.”

    So the question is once a situation escalates to a shooting situation, when do you have the right to expect an officer to deescalate it into a nonshooting situation.

    I think the jury was having trouble with this.

      RobM in reply to RodFC. | December 5, 2016 at 8:35 pm

      I do not think cops are trained, nor is it policy, to “deescalate” a felony chase. Once Scott ran from Slager, he was a felony stop. The wrestling and fight and resisting arrest more so. Disarming Slager of the taser even more, leaving Slager with the clear message, this guy is dirty and violent and must be stopped. Cops don’t let folks fight with them and run away anywhere I have ever heard of. If Scott had run a block or two away, barricaded himself into a hostage situation or carjacked someone or killed someone, would not the city have fired Scott for NOT stopping a felon? That’s the problem with 20/20. Good on the jury for rising above the clear intent of the DA and this judge to railroad Slager… and the media who badly prejudiced this case against Slager.

        Milhouse in reply to RobM. | December 6, 2016 at 2:05 am

        They had better be trained, and it had better be policy, to deescalate a felony chase. The old “fleeing felon” rule is illegal, and a cop who uses deadly force to stop a fleeing felon is a murderer, unless he had good grounds to believe that the felon posed an immediate danger to the public. The mere fact that he committed a felony is explicitly not enough.

          RobM in reply to Milhouse. | December 6, 2016 at 2:36 am

          See my reply to you above Milhouse; your interpretation for SC is incorrect, but the law needs clarification. From what I’ve read so far, Slager followed training and department rules to a T, but the political nature of the shoot overtook his department and the DA… they threw him to the rioters and politicians.

            Milhouse in reply to RobM. | December 6, 2016 at 9:25 am

            If he followed training and department rules to a T then that training and those rules are seriously defective, and even if he is acquitted they will not protect him from a Section 1983 suit. Garner was a 1983 suit, and laid down the rule that shooting a non-dangerous fleeing felon violates his civil rights; Slager is required and expected to know this, and has no qualified immunity.

          Mac45 in reply to Milhouse. | December 6, 2016 at 11:37 am

          Wow. exactly HOW do you “deescalate” a felon chase without simply not chasing people?

          You do realize that resisting an arrest by using physical violence IS a violent felony, in most jurisdictions, and that a violent felon fleeing with one or more of a LEO’s weapons, or thought to be in possession of said weapons, would constitute a reasonable danger to the rest of the community.

          I’m sorry, but all the legal requirements for a lawful use of deadly force against a felon exist in this case. As this was not a classic police shooting and the state was free to file criminal charges against the officer, filing charges was not totally out-of-bounds [though Slager was grossly overcharged]. But, there was an extremely strong case for the defense based upon Scott’s actions.

            Milhouse in reply to Mac45. | December 6, 2016 at 1:53 pm

            If you are chasing a non-dangerous felon, and the only way to stop him is by using deadly force, then you let him go. That is the law of the land. You only have the right to use deadly force to prevent his escape if you have probable cause to believe he poses a substantial risk of physical violence. And no, resisting arrest is not in itself enough for that.

            Barry in reply to Mac45. | December 6, 2016 at 8:59 pm

            “And no, resisting arrest is not in itself enough for that.”

            Cute. He viciously attacked the police officer. That is enough for one to assume he is a clear danger.

            Which is why he will not be convicted, in spite of the state political witch hunt and a poor defense attorney.

            Milhouse in reply to Mac45. | December 7, 2016 at 10:59 am

            He did not “viciously attack the police officer”. He ran away, and when the policeman brought him down he defended himself. There’s nothing about such conduct to indicate viciousness, let alone to provide probable cause that he is dangerous to the public. Under such circumstances Slager’s duty was to let him escape rather than use deadly force to stop him.

            Barry in reply to Mac45. | December 7, 2016 at 11:57 pm

            “He did not “viciously attack the police officer”.”

            If it were you that had been attacked, I’m quite sure you would recognize it for what it was.

            He ran from the cop, and when cornered, viciously attacked the officer.

            Apparently you are blind.

      Mac45 in reply to RodFC. | December 5, 2016 at 11:29 pm

      It is all about training. Slager was trained to use an elevating continuum of force, from verbal commands and intimidation, through unarmed physical force, to less lethal weaponry, such as batons, chemical sprays and the taser, and on into the use of deadly force/weapons, in order to make an arrest. In the Slager case, when Scott had continually shown that he would not surrender. When he secured Slager’s taser and attempted to use it on him he elevated his crimes to include a violent felony. and, if Slager had believed that Scott was fleeing with a dangerous weapon which could be used to disable responding officers thereby allowing Scott to secure another officer’s service weapon, shooting him might well be justified. And, if Slager was the recipient of a taser discharge, just before Scott fled for the final time, he could well have been disoriented and, believe that he was still under potentially deadly attack, acted pursuant to his training.

    If Scott had been a white man, Slager would not have been on trial.

    It is a political witch hunt, nothing more.

    mekender | December 6, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Local news this morning is saying that the prosecution is intending to try him again.

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