North Charleston Will Pay Walter Scott's Family $6.5 Million
North Charleston, S.C., has reached a settlement with the family of an unarmed black man shot in the back and killed by a white police officer in April
"This settlement is a step in the right direction for the family, the city, the Lowcountry, and our state," Mayor Keith Summey said, according to Charleston's local CBS affiliate station. "This will allow us to move forward and focus on the issues our citizens have elected us to do — advance quality of life and make the future brighter for the citizens of North Charleston."
The April 4 shooting of Walter Scott was captured on a cellphone camera by a passerby. The officer, Michael Slager, was fired and charged with murder; a judge denied bail last month.
Scott, a 50-year-old father of four, was shot after he ran from a traffic stop. Slager shot Scott eight times as he ran away in an open field. Slager has claimed in an interview with NBC that there had been a struggle in which Scott had tried to take the officer's taser, and that Slager had no way of knowing Scott was unarmed.
The agreement is the third settlement of approximately $6 million reached in the past year with families of black men killed by police. The city of Baltimore settled with the family of Freddie Gray, whose April death in police custody prompted murder charges for six officers and citywide riots, for $6.4 million in September.
The family of Eric Garner, who died after being put in a chokehold by a New York City police officer in July 2014, was paid $5.9 million. Garner's death was also captured on video by a bystander; in December a grand jury decided not to indict the officer who wrapped his arm around Garner's neck.
For Scott's family, the settlement offers a modicum of validation.
"This is a small victory," said Anthony Scott, Walter Scott's brother told the Washington Post. "And as long as we win the war, and get a conviction for murder, we will be pleased and feel like we got justice."
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