WATCH: Michael Slager Trial Jury Foreman Says Race Wasn’t Major Factor in Mistrial

By Kenrya Rankin Dec 09, 2016

On Monday (December 5), the jury charged with determining the fate of the White former North Charleston police officer who shot and killed an unarmed Black man failed to make a decision, leading to a mistrial. Now, the only Black person on that jury is speaking out.

Jury foreman Dorsey Montgomery II appeared on the Today show yesterday (December 8) to discuss the Michael Slager trial and explain why he and the 11 White people on the jury were unable to convict the man who was caught on video fatally shooting Michael Scott in the back on April 4, 2015.

During the interview with co-anchors Tamron Hall and Matt Lauer, Montgomery said that the jury initially considered the murder charge, but after seeing the evidence, the conversation pivoted to manslaughter. “We had to come to find out that he didn’t do anything malicious. He had manslaughter, he had a brief disturbance in reason for that moment. So based on the law, that would be classified as manslaughter, voluntary manslaughter,” Montgomery said.

He also said that the mistrial was not the result of one hold out juror, as widely reported. “We had one individual who was deadlocked that he wasn’t changing, but yet we had five other individuals who were undecided,” he said. When asked about the deadlocked juror’s reasoning, Montgomery did not reveal much: “He just had his own convictions. And I’ll leave that right there.”

When Montgomery was asked about the role race played in the hung jury, he said he didn’t think it played an explicit role. “Due to the society that we live in, race will always be a factor,” he said. “But at that point of time, I do believe some jurors may have had that in their mind, but the majority of them didn’t have anything in reference to race that may have played a factor in the decision.”

Watch the full interview above.