Dorsey Montgomery, the foreman who also doubled as the lone person of color on Michael Slager‘s trial jury, told the TODAY Show on Thursday that most jurors saw “no malicious intent” in Slager’s fatal shooting of Walter Scott, an unarmed Black man.
The trial concluded on Monday in a mistrial after several jurors failed to come to a unanimous decision between convicting Slager of murder or manslaughter beyond a reasonable doubt.
During his interview with Matt Lauer and Tamron Hall, Montgomery revealed he initially was set on the murder charge, but after further review of evidence and the defense’s claim that Slager was operating in self-defense, he decided otherwise.
“After we looked at the evidence and read the laws, and looked at the things that were presented to us by the judge, we had to come to find out that he didn’t do anything malicious. He had––manslaughter…. a brief disturbance and reason for that moment, so based on the law, that would be classified as manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter,” Montgomery said.
What remains unclear is how the jurors saw nothing malicious in the video footage that explicitly captured Slager shooting an unarmed man in the back as he ran away from an impending threat. The action cost Walter Scott his life.
Montgomery also claimed the media misconstrued the note a lone juror wrote to the judge on Friday, revealing he could not convict Slager of murder. Montgomery said there were actually five jurors who were also undecided and believed if deliberations continued, the group could come to a consensus at a later date.
“Do you think race played a role in the deliberations and the outcome of this trial?” Lauer asked near the end of the segment.
“Due to the society we live in, race will always be a factor, but at that point in time, I do believe that some jurors may have had that in mind, but the majority of them didn’t have anything in reference to race that may have played a factor in the decision,” Montgomery answered.
SOURCE: TODAY Show | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty