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North Charleston, Walter Scott's family reach $6.5-million civil suit settlement

Cell phone video shows the final moments of Walter Scott's life as he is shot by Officer Michael Slager.

By Caroline Balchunasccbalchunas@sbgtv.com{}

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- North Charleston City Council officials announced approval of a $6.5 million settlement with the Walter Scott family during Thursday night's meeting.

The North Charleston City Council approved the settlement, the largest of its kind in the state of South Carolina, by a 10-0 vote.{}

The council met several times in the past few months to receive advice from city attorney Brady Hair on a potential lawsuit by the family of Walter Scott.

"It's with great hope this settlement resolves community strife, discontentment, and helps city move forward," said Councilman Todd Old during the meeting.{}

Mayor Keith Summey lauded the family for taking steps to keep the city calm and patient as the investigation played out.{}

"This settlement is a step in the right direction for the family, our city, the Lowcountry and the state," Summey said. "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."{}

Summey said the city has changed its policies and taken many "positive steps" since the shooting, including outfitting the police department with body cameras and regular meetings with the community to build that relationship.{}

"Our family is pleased that we have resolved the civil portion of this case," said Scott's brother Anthony.{}

Scott was killed April 4 during a traffic stop by former officer Michael Slager. The police department at first called it a clean shooting. But a cellphone video by a bystander called that into question and led to murder charges for Slager.{}

The criminal investigation continues.{}

"To the citizens of North Charleston, to the state of South Carolina, to anyone in the United States watching this right now my message is quite simple: as a people we have an ongoing obligation not only to society but to each other. Where there is injustice, we must pursue justice," said attorney Justin Bamberg.

For the legal team and family of Walter Scott, this closes a chapter and opens a positive one for society, Bamberg said.{}

Hair said he's proud this civil suit had a peaceful resolution. He added it's one that will likely serve as a blueprint for other cities dealing with similar cases.{}

"We're very proud that we were able to settle a case of this magnitude without a brick being thrown, without a fire being set, and without a lawsuit being filed," Hair said.{}

Chris Stewart, one of the attorneys for Scott's family, said this historic settlement sends a larger message.{}

{}"(It proves) to other people throughout the country that these situations matter," said Stewart. "That a man being shot like this, it matters and that a city can care."

Anthony Scott said reaching a settlement has been an emotional roller-coaster, but ultimately, it brings a sense of closure, especially for those Scott left behind.

"You can't put a value on someone's life. It can't bring my brother back," Scott said. "But it can help to take care of his children for the future and maybe for the rest of their life."

Specific details of the settlement were not released Thursday.

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