The family of Scout Schultz, the Georgia Tech student shot and killed by Georgia Tech police in 2017, have settled a lawsuit with the college for $1 million.
Attorneys for the family said the settlement is one of the highest of its kind in a Georgia university’s police force in an officer-involved shooting.
Schultz was shot on Sept. 16, 2017 after a confrontation with four Georgia Tech Police Department officers. The 21-year-old was a fourth-year computer engineering major and president of the Pride Alliance on campus.
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Police said the student had a knife. But the family said Schultz was having a mental breakdown and was holding a multipurpose tool that wasn’t related to the shooting. The Schultz family’s attorney, Chris Stewart, said most of the officers backed off, but one fired at Schultz.
“Most of the officers backed away continued to try to deescalate, and one of the officers did not and fired a fatal shot, which we didn’t think was justified,” Stewart said.
GBI identified the officer as Tyler Beck. According to his record, Beck did not have crisis intervention training.
“We are glad that Georgia Tech now requires all of their officers to have it and after this incident all of their officers got that training,” Stewart said. “They also gave them tasers, which they didn’t have before, as a non-lethal alternative.”
In addition to the financial compensation, Schultz’s parents and attorneys demanded other “substantive” changes to the policing process at The Georgia Institute of Technology. The university subsequently changed numerous policies regarding both equipment and training.
After Schultz’s death, Georgia Tech issued tasers to all sworn officers and departmental standards now require all officers to complete the 40-hour Crisis Intervention Team training. Nearly all officers are now CIT trained in dealing with mental health emergencies.
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“Georgia Tech University should be saluted for their efforts to amicably resolve this situation and the changes the university made to protect their student body. We are hopeful that the university’s example of caring effort will be replicated nationwide. Students have let us know the LGBTQIA community is often overlooked and we hope these positive changes continue and that Scout’s life will stand for change,” Stewart said.
Additionally, the university expanded its LGBTQIA Resource Center, received $1 million in contributions to enhance LGBTQIA student mental health and wellness initiatives and created the largest progress pride flag staircase in the country.
Georgia Tech released this statement:
“We all continue to celebrate the impact Scout Schultz had on members of the GT community and mourn their loss. The recent settlement between Scout’s family and the Georgia Department of Administrative Services gives us a moment to reflect again on ways Georgia Tech can better support all members of the campus community. While we’ve significantly increased campus mental health resources and well-being programs over the last four years, we are reminded today of the importance of continued work in this area.”
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