Vice President-elect Mike Pence said Tuesday that the next attorney general will decide whether or not to continue federal charges against a former South Carolina police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man.
Pence was referring to the case of Michael Slager, a North Charleston, South Carolina cop who was captured on video in April 2015 shooting and killing Walter Scott as he ran away from the officer. A year later, the Department of Justice charged Slager with "a federal civil rights offense, using a firearm during the commission of the civil rights offense and obstruction of justice."
Local prosecutors also charged Slager with murder and manslaughter, and on Monday, a mistrial was declared after the jury said it couldn't reach a verdict. Prosecutors said they will likely retry the case.
Pence was asked about the mistrial on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Tuesday and whether the Justice Department under a Trump administration would continue with the federal civil rights charges.
"Will the next administration support the fed's continuing the case against Slager?" host Mika Brzezinski asked.
"I think that is a decision they will review and make after January 20th," Pence responded. He went on, "obviously every American is just heartbroken and shocked to see the video in that, and our hearts go out to the family and the community that witnessed that. The mistrial yesterday, the presumption is that there will be another trial."
When asked again about the federal charges, Pence said, "The attorney general will make that decision whether the federal government remains involved." President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Sen. Jeff Sessions — who has drawn concern from civil rights groups — as the next Attorney General.
When host Joe Scarborough asked Pence about Muslim and Hispanic Americans who are expressing fear over the next administration, he responded that Trump "is committed to being president of all of the people of the united States of America."
Tom Namako is the deputy news director for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tom Namako at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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