'Historic' Settlement Made in Walter Scott Case

City says Garner, Gray cases were a guideline
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2015 12:48 AM CDT
'Historic' Settlement Made in Walter Scott Case
Anthony Scott, the brother of Walter Scott, speaks Thursday in North Charleston, SC.   (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)

The family of an unarmed black motorist shot in the back by a South Carolina police officer has been given a settlement that lawyers say is "historic"—and the biggest in recent cases of its kind. North Charleston's city council voted unanimously on Thursday to settle with Walter Scott's family for $6.5 million, the New York Times reports. A city attorney tells the Post and Courier that they're proud they could "settle a case of this magnitude without a brick being thrown, without a fire being set, and without a lawsuit being filed." He says the city took the $6.4 million settlement in the Freddie Gray case and the $5.9 million settlement in the Eric Garner case into account during negotiations. As part of the settlement, Scott's family has agreed not to sue the city or its employees, the Times notes.

The city lawyer says that while the payment is large, there was the potential for "a very large verdict" if the case went to court because there's video of the shooting and former officer Michael Slager has been charged with murder. "It's historic," an attorney for the Scott family tells the Washington Post. "It sets a good precedent for a city not tolerating this sort of behavior from police officers." Anthony Scott, Walter Scott's brother, says the settlement ensures that Scott's four children will be taken care of financially, and a portion of it will be donated to the Red Cross to help flood victims in the state, the Post and Courier reports. (Slager is in jail awaiting trial for the April 4 shooting, and he says video of the incident doesn't tell the whole story.)

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