CHARLESTON, S.C., Dec. 2 (UPI) -- A mistrial might be likely in the case of a former South Carolina police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man last year.
Jurors in the trial of Michael Slager told the court on Friday that they are deadlocked, perhaps hopelessly.
Slager is on trial for shooting 50-year-old Walter Scott in North Charleston last year. Prosecutors gave jurors the option of convicting Slager on a murder or manslaughter charge, but it appeared Friday that the panel can't decide on either.
Jurors informed Judge Clifton Newman Friday afternoon that they were deadlocked. With encouragement from both prosecutors and defense attorneys, Newman instructed the jury to resume deliberations until a verdict is reached.
Newman was also informed by one juror -- reportedly the lone member voting for acquittal -- that it would be impossible for him to agree on Slager's guilt.
The jury foreperson, however, did say a unanimous verdict might be possible with further clarification of the law.
Slager attorney Andy Savage moved for a mistrial at that point late Friday, but Newman put the court in recess as he awaited word from the jury about which laws need greater explaining, WCSC reported. Prosecutor Scarlett Wilson opposed Savage's motion for a mistrial.
Slager, 35, shot Scott several times in the back in April 2015 as he fled from a traffic stop. The former officer later said he feared for his life but cellphone video taken by a witness called that claim into question.
Friday's news indicated that 11 members of the 12-person jury are voting to convict, although it's unknown on which charge. If found guilty, Slager faces between two years and life in prison -- depending on whether the conviction is for murder or manslaughter.