US city to pay out $6.5m to family of black man shot dead by white policeman

US city to pay out $6.5m to family of black man shot dead by white policeman
A mourner laying flowers at t he scene of the shooting in April

A city in South Carolina is to pay the family of an unarmed black man shot dead by a white policeman $6.5m.

North Charleston City Council approved the settlement by a 10-0 vote, with members of Walter Scott’s family present.

The council had met several times in the past few months to receive advice from city lawyer Brady Hair on a potential lawsuit from Mr Scott’s family.

Mr Scott, 50, was shot on April 4 by North Charleston officer Michael Slager while trying to run away from a traffic stop. The shooting, recorded by a bystander on a mobile phone, inflamed the national debate about how blacks are treated by police.

The phone video showed Slager firing eight times as Mr Scott fled.

Slager was charged with murder in June and last month a judge refused him bail, saying his release would “constitute an unreasonable danger to the community”. Slager, who was sacked from the force following his arrest, is detained in solitary confinement.

Before the video was brought to the attention of authorities, Slager had told investigators that Mr Scott tried to grab his gun and Taser stun gun. But prosecutor Scarlett Wilson said Mr Scott was running away and the only time Slager could be seen running was to go back, pick up the Taser and then drop it by Mr Scott’s body.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Mr Scott’s family called for peace and some have credited the family’s action, along with the officer’s speedy arrest, with staving off the protests and violence that have erupted in other cities where unarmed black men have died during encounters with police.

Slager faces 30 years to life in prison without parole if he is convicted. There were no aggravating circumstances such as robbery or kidnapping, so the death penalty does not apply in the case, the prosecutor has said.

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