North Charleston city officials in South Carolina announced Thursday that they have settled a lawsuit with the family of an unarmed man shot in the back by a city police officer.
50-year-old Walter Scott was pulled over for having a break light out by officer Michael Slager at 9:30 a.m. on April 4 in the parking lot of an auto parts store at 1945 Remount Road.
Video recorded from Slager’s dash-cam shows him approach Scott’s car, speak to the man, and then return to his patrol car. Scott, who had a warrant out for his arrest for failure to make child support payments, then exited his vehicle and fled with Slager giving chase on foot.
Watch the raw footage:
Slager then pursued Scott to a lot behind a pawn shop at 5654 Rivers Avenue, where the two reportedly became involved in a physical altercation before Slager fired his taser, hitting Scott.
Scott then fled again, and Slager drew his firearm and fired eight rounds. Cellphone footage recorded from a bystander on the scene shows the officer fire his weapon from as much as 20 feet away as Scott runs away from him.
According to a lawyer for Scott’s family, the coroner had reported to him that Scott was struck a total of five times: three times in the back, once in the upper buttocks, and once on one of his ears, with one bullet entering his heart.
Watch the raw footage:
Immediately following the shooting, Slager radioed a dispatcher, stating, “Shots fired and the subject is down, he took my taser.” In police reports, Slager said he had feared for his life because Scott had taken his taser – and shot the man because he “felt threatened.”
After the North Charleston police department reviewed the footage, Slager was arrested and charged with murder on April 7. On June 8, a South Carolina grand jury indicted the officer on the murder charge after a few hours of deliberation.
If convicted, Slager would face between 30 years and life in prison without the possibility of parole. No trial date has been set yet however, and Slager still remains in jail without bail.
On Thursday, Mayor R. Keith Summey said in a statement that the City Council voted to settle all potential claims over Scott’s death for $6.5 million.
“I am glad the city and the family were able to reach a settlement without the necessity of a lawsuit,” Summey said. “As mayor, I was directly in touch with the Scott family immediately after the tragedy occurred and offered our heartfelt condolences for their loss. We have supported the family and are extremely sorry for their loss.”
Scott’s mother, Judy said that the settlement “would never bring her son back,” but that she appreciated the city “for what they did.”