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April 11, 2015

Funeral to be held for man killed by South Carolina police officer

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. - A memorial service will be held Saturday for Walter Scott, the South Carolina father of four whose death has become the latest flashpoint in the debate over U.S. police tactics after he was shot in the back while running from a white patrolman last week.
Scott's family is expected to be escorted to the funeral by police from North Charleston, the city that fired Officer Michael Slager after he was charged with murder when a cell phone video emerged showing him shooting at Scott's back eight times on April 4.

Scott, 50, did not appear armed in the footage. 

The city wants to give Scott's family "the utmost respect and the respect that the gentleman who is deceased deserves," North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said at a press conference a few days before the funeral.

The service will be held at 11 a.m. EDT at W.O.R.D. Ministries Christian Center in Summerville, Scott's family said.

Scott was driving a black Mercedes-Benz when he was pulled over by Slager, 33, for a broken tail light. Video from the dashboard camera in Slager's police cruiser recorded a respectful exchange between the two men before the officer returned to his patrol car.

A few minutes later, after being told by Slager to stay in the Mercedes, Scott emerged from his car and took off running.

A second video by a bystander showed the men in a brief tussle before Scott ran again, Slager fired his gun and Scott slumped into the grass.

In the days since his death, Scott has been remembered for his love of dancing and the Dallas Cowboys. He had a history of arrests for failing to pay child support and was forced out of the U.S. Coast Guard in 1986 after more than two years of service due to a drug offense.

He was nonetheless discharged under honorable conditions because he had a good record of service, the Coast Guard said.

An obituary published on Friday said Scott's survivors include his parents, two brothers and four children.