NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - North Charleston City Council has unanimously approved a motion for a $6.5 million settlement with the Walter Scott family.
Council approved the settlement with a 10-0 vote on Thursday night.
"This settlement is a step in the right direction for the family, the city, the Lowcountry, and our state," Mayor Keith Summey said."This will allow us to move forward and focus on the issues our citizens have elected us to do, advance quality of life and make the future brighter for the citizens of North Charleston."
City officials said council had met numerous times with the city's attorney on a potential lawsuit by Walter Scott's estate.
City attorney Brady Hair said the process of the settlement began days after Scott's death, with Hair communicating with attorneys representing Scott's estate over a period of months with mediation which culminated in the settlement.
According to Hair, the money for the settlement would come from the city's insurance carrier and the general reserve fund. The city's bond rate will not be affected.
"Our family is pleased that we have resolved the civil portion of Walter's death with the City of North Charleston," said Walter Scott's brother, Anthony who was in attendance at the announcement. "While nothing can replace having Walter in our lives, the City of North Charleston historic actions ensure that he did not die in vain."
Walter Scott was shot by former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager on April 4 following a traffic stop.
Slager was charged with murder following the release of video shot by Feidin Santana.
Anthony Scott said the city sent a loud and clear message that "this kind of reckless behavior exhibited by members of law enforcement will not and shall not be tolerated."
"Not a day goes by when we don't think about Walter," Scott said."Thankfully, we find some reminders of him in our day-to-day lives. We will now focus our efforts on the criminal trial of Walter's killer."
Scott says the family and their legal team will donate a portion of the settlement to disaster relief efforts in South Carolina being undertaken by the American Red Cross.
Officials with the City of North Charleston released the mayor's full statement on the settlement below.
I am glad the city and the family were able to reach a settlement without the necessity of a lawsuit. 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. I have continued to be in contact with the family through our lawyers and their lawyers. Both sides have met many times and worked very hard over the past several months to resolve this matter.
Immediately after the release of the video, the family took steps to keep the community calm, and for that the city is thankful.This is a very difficult period for the Scott family. I know they are glad to have this part behind them so their healing process can continue. 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.
The city has taken many positive steps over the last several months including outfitting the police force with body cameras. We engaged the Department of Justice Community Relations Liaison to begin meetings with the North Charleston Police Department and members of the community, and our police department will continue building upon our relationships in the community.
Through numerous meetings between the city and the family's lawyers, we worked through many issues of concern and both sides believe that positive steps have been taken and relations between the NCPD and the community are improving and will continue to improve.
This settlement is a step in the right direction for the family, the city, the Lowcountry, and our state. This will allow us to move forward and focus on the issues our citizens have elected us to do, advance quality of life and make the future brighter for the citizens of North Charleston.