The South Carolina city of North Charleston agreed to pay Walter Scott’s family $6.5 million as a compensation for the loss of the black man who was shot dead from behind by a NC police officer.
The shooting was caught on tape by a passer-by who said that the victim tried to flee the police officer during a traffic check. A coroner’s report showed that the black man was intoxicated with cocaine and alcohol when the shooting occurred, and that he was struck by five bullets in the back, with one bullet piercing his heart.
The attorney of Scott’s family said that the Walter Scott settlement was a historic achievement especially for a city that has zero tolerance for cop violence. The city’s decision was mainly aimed at dodging a costly civil lawsuit.
But the former police officer involved in the shooting, Michael Slager, now faces criminal charges of manslaughter. His attorney said during a hearing Thursday that his client was not dangerous and should be at least allowed to walk free on bond. Yet, the video with the shooting clearly shows that Slager fired eight times at Scott from behind, while the black man was running from him unarmed.
Nevertheless, Scott’s killing is not unique. Several others occurred in major cities across the U.S. and sparked public outrage. North Charleston’s mayor acknowledged that the black man’s family had a hard time since April when the shooting occurred. But now that North Charleston agreed to pay Walter Scott’s family $6.5 million, their healing process can continue, the mayor added.
“This settlement is a step in the right direction for the family, the city, the Lowcountry, and our state,”
he also told reporters.
The settlement may be an echo of the $5.9 million settlement between NYC and Eric Garner’s family and the $6.4 million agreement between Baltimore city and the family of Freddie Gray.
Garner and Grey were both victims of police violence. Garner’s death was recorded by a bystander with a smartphone camera, while Gray’s last moments before entering a coma was recorded by a private security camera. In Gray’s case six police officers now face murder charges.
In Scott’s case, former police officer Slager risks 30 years behind bars or even life prison with no parole. The man’s attorney declined to comment on the settlement.
Nationwide, police violence resulted in 750 deaths this year alone. And in only five cases police officers were charged.
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