The Walter Scott family has been awarded $6.5 million from the city of North Charleston, South Carolina. The lawsuit settlement was reached as the police officer who shot and killed Scott awaits trial on murder charges.
The Walter Scott settlement was approved by the North Charleston City Council on Thursday evening, USA Today reports. The $6.5 million police shooting settlement was reportedly brought to a vote after local officials met with the municipal attorney and the legal team for the Scott family.
Officer Michael Slager, who is white, was charged with murder after a video recording captured by a bystander showed him shooting Walter Scott, who is black, as he fled the scene. On April 4, Scott died at the scene moments after being shot. The video taken of the fatal police shooting soon hit the internet and went viral, CNN reports.
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“I am glad the city and the family were able to reach a settlement without the necessity of a lawsuit,” Mayor R. Keith Summey said after the settlement agreement was reached. “Both sides have met many times and worked very hard over the past several months to resolve this matter.”
The North Charleston mayor also said that he appreciated the calm response from the Scott family after the video of the police shooting surfaced. Police in the South Carolina city will not be outfitted with body cameras and are “engaging” with the Department of Justice concerning community policing.
“Citizens have become engaged in the process and government officials are listening,” Mayor Summey added.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is still investigating the shooting. A video captured on the police car dashcam reportedly showed Walter Scott, 50, getting out of his car and running away from Officer Michael Slager during a traffic stop. Scott was shot and killed just a few moments after running away from his car.
The video also shows Slager approaching the dark Mercedes Benz Scott was driving. The vehicle was stopped due to a broken taillight. The audio recording on the video reveals that Scott said he did not have the insurance card or registration information for the Mercedes because he was in the process of purchasing the high-end vehicle.
After the two men talk briefly, Slager returned to his cruise. Scott “tentatively” got out of the vehicle and then climbed back inside again. A moment later, he opened the door a second time and ran out of view of the officer’s dashcam. Slager is shown running after the suspect.
“While nothing can replace having Walter in our lives, the city of North Charleston’s historic actions ensure that he did not die in vain,” the shooting victim’s brother, Anthony Scott, said. “This city sent a message, loud and clear, that this kind of reckless behavior exhibited by members of law enforcement will not and shall not be tolerated. “It is our hope that after a jury of his peers reviews the evidence, they’ll send an equally important message to law enforcement.”
Anthony Scott also said the family is hoping that Slager is convicted of the murder charges.
Walter Scott’s family was awarded $6.5M following his death at the hands of police brutality this April pic.twitter.com/hRmLd6Wnon
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A portion of the Walter Scott $6.5 million settlement will reportedly be given to his children and some of the money will be donated to help with the ongoing South Carolina flood relief effort.
[Image via: Shutterstock.com]