Scout Schultz, a nonbinary Georgia Tech student, was shot after walking toward an officer while carrying a multitool, refusing officers’ demands that they drop the object. The student’s family says Schultz had a history of depression and may have had a mental breakdown.
Photo: Georgia Tech Pride Alliance
Photo: Georgia Tech Pride Alliance

Family of Georgia Tech student killed by police files lawsuit

The family of a Georgia Tech student shot and killed by a campus police officer two years ago this month filed a wrongful death lawsuit Wednesday against the school, the officer and the state’s Board of Regents.

The lawsuit says the officer, Tyler Beck, was improperly trained and used excessive force when he fatally wounded Scout 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 lawsuit also says Georgia Tech and the University System of Georgia failed to properly accommodate students having a mental health crisis.

A Georgia Tech spokeswoman declined comment Wednesday, saying the school does not discuss pending litigation.

Bill Schultz, father of Scout Schultz, listens to a question at a press conference in Atlanta, Georgia, on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. Schultz was a 21 year-old Georgia Tech student who was shot and killed after a confrontation with police on campus on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. The family maintains that the officer who killed Schultz took excessive measures and that Schultz’ death was unnecessary.

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 their orders for Schultz not to move. While some of the officers attempted to de-escalate the situation, the lawsuit says Beck, who had not received crisis intervention training, shot Schultz.

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The lawsuit says Schultz’s death was “the result of Georgia Tech’s and the State of Georgia’s failure over time to properly train their personnel to act in such a way as to prevent the exclusion of persons such as Scott Schultz from the safety to which all students were entitled on the campus of Georgia Tech.” Schultz, an engineering major who identified as nonbinary, was a leader in LGBTQ campus organizations.

Georgia Tech police officer Tyler Beck

The complaint also says Georgia Tech, Fulton County prosecutors and state officials have declined to share information with the family about the case.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard has said he expects to soon decide whether to pursue charges against Beck.

Beck rejoined Georgia Tech’s police force in December 2017 in an administrative capacity after being place on paid leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

An attorney representing Schultz’s family did not discuss the complaint Wednesday. Schultz’s attorneys have scheduled a news conference Thursday morning.

Previous coverage:

The parents of Scott “Scout” Schultz said their son was suffering a mental breakdown when he was shot.

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