Just after 11 a.m. Thursday, the jury in the Bill Cosby trial told Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill that they’d reached an impasse on all three counts of aggravated indecent assault. Cosby is standing trial after allegedly drugging and molesting Andrea Constand, a former Temple University athletics employee, in 2004.
“While you should not hesitate to reexamine your own views or change your opinion if your opinion is erroneous, do not feel compelled to surrender your honest belief,” O’Neill told the panel. “If after further deliberations, you are still deadlocked on some or all the charges, you should report that to me.”
Soon after, tempers flared outside the courtroom and on social media.
Racial concerns erupted as Twitter users debated whether skin color is playing a role in the jury’s decisions. One commenter noted that the “racist justice system” was “trying to frame Cosby.” Two members of the 12-person jury are black. (Even before the deadlocked jury, this case provoked strong feelings about race-related issues. Earlier this week, columnist Solomon Jones wrote about the generational divide when it comes to Cosby’s supporters and detractors in the black community.)
Another commenter took the opposite tack, saying that the heart of this case is not race, but money.
Many social media users have drawn comparisons between the Cosby case and the 1994 OJ Simpson trial.
Another Twitter user blamed gender politics for the deadlocked jury, calling the impasse the “power of the patriarchy.”
Meanwhile, others, including ABC’s Dan Abrams, were frustrated by the speculation over the identity of jurors and its impact on their decisions.
Staff writer Casey Kammerle contributed to this report.