(CN) – The City of North Charleston, S.C. will pay a $6.5 million settlement to the family of an unarmed black man shot and killed by white police officer last spring.
The North Charleston City Council approved the settlement Thursday night. Afterwards, North Charleston’s mayor, R. Keith Summey, expressed gratitude over the fact a settlement could be achieved “without the necessity of a lawsuit.”
“Both sides have met many times and worked very hard over the past several months to resolve this matter,” he said.
Walter Scott was shot by former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager during a routine traffic stop down wrong. Scott, who owed back child-support payments, ran from his car, and was pursued by Slager into a nearby park.
A passerby on his way to work shot a cellphone video of the final minutes of Scott and Slager’s encounter, his film showing Slager shooting Scott in the back as he ran away.
Slager was charged with murder, and he was recently denied bond after a judge in Charleston concluded his release “would constitute an unreasonable danger to the community.”
Anthony Scott, the dead man’s brother, expressed gratitude to the city, saying it “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.”
In a statement Mayor Summey said, “As a result of this tragedy, important issues have been discussed, not only in North Charleston, but around the country. Citizens have become engaged in this process and government officials are listening.”
If convicted, Slager faces 30 years to life in prison with no possibility of parole.