[JURIST] Judge Edgar Dickson of the South Carolina Circuit Court [official website], on Tuesday, declared a mistrial in the murder case against a former police chief for the 2011 killing of an unarmed black man. This decision [Reuters report] followed the jury remaining deadlocked after 12 hours of deliberation. Former police chief Richard Combs allegedly shot 54-year-old Bernard Bailey in the town hall parking lot in May of 2011. If convicted, Combs may have faced a sentence of life in prison.
Racial tension has recently mounted in the US following several police killings of unarmed black men. After the grand jury decided not to indict [JURIST report] the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer who shot and killed Micheal Brown [USA today Timeline], an African American teenager, there was a large uproar from the Ferguson community that led to mass protests and violence in some instances. The case even reached international news with Amnesty International reporting [JURIST report] human rights abuses by Ferguson Police in late October. In early October a federal judge ruled [JURIST report] that the police tactics used on protesters was unconstitutional and issued a preliminary injunction.