Civil rights leader sends message to President-elect Trump after Slager mistrial

Published: Dec. 6, 2016 at 10:15 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 6, 2016 at 9:11 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Elder James Johnson with South Carolina's National Action Network is calling on President-elect Donald Trump to create a commission that investigates the shootings of unarmed African Americans once he takes office.

"Every week an unarmed black man somewhere in America is shot by a policeman and it's beginning to become a serious problem," Johnson said Tuesday morning.

Johnson says he wants the government to try and figure out why the shootings are happening and find ways to prevent them.

The statements were made at a news conference held by NAN, The Coalition and other civil rights organizations in response to the mistrial declared in the Michael Slager case.

"How much do you expect the community to take?" Thomas Dixon with The Coalition asked. "What does it take for the community to get a win, a conviction in these acts."

Slager, a former North Charleston police officer, is charged in the April 4, 2015 shooting death of Walter Scott after a traffic stop. After five weeks of testimony and several days deliberation, the jury tasked with deciding whether Slager is guilty of either murder or voluntary manslaughter or not guilty on the basis of self-defense was unable to reach a unanimous decision.

"I have a final note from the jury," Judge Clifton Newman told attorneys Monday afternoon. "It says, 'We as the jury regret to inform the court that despite the best efforts of all members, we are unable to a unanimous decision in the case of The State v. Michael Slager.'"

"He's committed a heinous act and he has not owned up to it," Dixon said. "A real man would own up to what he do and not even wait for a jury to be tricked and connived by a slick talking lawyer."

"We feel there is no justice when it comes to policemen shooting black men, anywhere in America," Johnson added.

Johnson said many people were downhearted after the announcement, but with Slager's federal trial and state retrial, there is "a glimmer of hope" that he believes justice will be served.

Members of these civil rights groups hope Trump will take a hard look at this issue, they feel, is hindering life in America.

"We have a national moral issue that needs to be addressed and addressed now," Dixon said.

According to the National Action Network, they haven't sent any letters to the president-elect.

Organizers of the news conference are hoping to join with members of the community again Tuesday evening to discuss the next steps following the mistrial.

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