Family reaches $1 million settlement in Georgia Tech student leader’s death

Scout Schultz, a Georgia Tech student, was shot after walking toward an officer while carrying a multitool and refusing officers’ demands to drop the object. Schultz’s family say Schultz had a history of depression and may have had a mental breakdown. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED.

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Scout Schultz, a Georgia Tech student, was shot after walking toward an officer while carrying a multitool and refusing officers’ demands to drop the object. Schultz’s family say Schultz had a history of depression and may have had a mental breakdown. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED.

Georgia officials have agreed to pay $1 million to the family of a Georgia Tech student who was shot and killed by a campus police officer four years ago, the family’s attorneys announced Thursday.

Scout Schultz’s parents said the officer, Tyler Beck, used excessive force when he fatally wounded Schultz, 21, near the student’s dorm on Sept. 16, 2017. Schultz had previously sought mental health counseling from Georgia Tech and with professionals off campus. The family sued in September 2019.

Schultz’s family said the student was having a mental health breakdown when Schultz called 911 to report a suspicious person on campus. Four campus police officers came to the scene and found Schultz, who fit the description of the suspicious person. The family said Schultz walked toward the officers carrying an object despite officers’ orders for Schultz not to move. While some of the officers attempted to deescalate the situation, the lawsuit says Beck, who had not received crisis intervention training, shot Schultz. Fulton County prosecutors announced last year they would not pursue criminal charges against Beck, who is no longer a Georgia Tech police officer.

Schultz was an engineering student with a 3.9 grade-point average and the president of Georgia Tech’s Pride Alliance. Schultz identified as nonbinary and intersex. Georgia Tech posthumously awarded Schultz’s degree to the student’s parents.

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A group gathers at a memorial for Georgia Tech student Scout Schultz on Sept. 17, 2017, in Atlanta. Schultz, an engineering student at Georgia Tech, was shot by Georgia Tech campus police after allegedly wielding what looked like a knife. (STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC)

A group gathers at a memorial for Georgia Tech student Scout Schultz on Sept. 17, 2017, in Atlanta. Schultz, an engineering student at Georgia Tech, was shot by Georgia Tech campus police after allegedly wielding what looked like a knife. (STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC)

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A group gathers at a memorial for Georgia Tech student Scout Schultz on Sept. 17, 2017, in Atlanta. Schultz, an engineering student at Georgia Tech, was shot by Georgia Tech campus police after allegedly wielding what looked like a knife. (STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC)

Schultz’s family and attorneys believe the student’s death led to several important changes at the school, including requiring all officers to complete 40-hour Crisis Intervention Team training to handle mental health emergencies. All sworn officers are now issued tasers in addition to their firearms. L. Chris Stewart, one of Schultz’s attorneys, said issuing the tasers, a less lethal option than a gun, “is something that should be replicated” by other college police departments nationally.

Additionally, Georgia Tech expanded its LGBTQIA Resource Center, received $1 million in contributions to enhance LGBTQIA student mental health and wellness initiatives.

“We are hopeful that the university’s example of caring effort will be replicated nationwide,” said Stewart. “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.”

Georgia Tech said in a statement: “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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