COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The foreman of the jury that couldn’t reach a verdict in the murder trial of a former South Carolina police officer initially wanted to convict Michael Slager of murder.
That’s what Dorsey Montgomery said Thursday on NBC’s “Today.” But after reviewing evidence, including cellphone video of the shooting, Montgomery said that he thought the 35-year-old Slager was guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the death of Walter Scott.
Jurors deliberated more than 22 hours over four days before a mistrial was declared Monday. The white former officer was charged with shooting Scott, who was black, five times in the back as he fled a traffic stop in April 2015, an incident captured by a bystander on cellphone video that was shared online and horrified many.
At one point late last week, a juror wrote a note telling the judge that he couldn’t “in good conscience” convict Slager. That same day, Montgomery, as the jury foreman, told the judge the jury wasn’t able to agree but thought a weekend off of deliberations would help, a request the judge granted.
But that note, Montgomery said Thursday, didn’t mean the other 11 jurors all thought the officer was guilty. In fact, he told “Today,” five of them weren’t decided on how they’d vote.
“We had one individual who was just deadlocked ... but yet we had five other individuals who were undecided,” said Montgomery, the sole black member of the jury.
“He just had his own convictions, and I’ll leave that right there,” Montgomery said, when asked what exactly the juror said about why he felt that way.
State prosecutors have said they plan to try Slager again. He has also been charged with civil rights violations in federal court.