The family of Scott “Scout” Schultz filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against Georgia Tech two years after campus police shot and killed the 21-year-old LGBTQ student leader.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, said Officer Tyler Beck used excessive force and was improperly trained to respond to a student having a mental health crisis. William and Lynne Schultz filed the lawsuit against the school, Beck and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.
“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,” the lawsuit said.
Schultz (photo), who identified as bisexual, nonbinary and intersex, called 911 on Sept. 16, 2017. Campus police responded and found Schultz in a residential area of campus holding what appeared to be a knife.
Beck shot Schultz once in the heart and they died about 30 minutes later at Grady Memorial Hospital. Violence marred a tribute to Schultz two days after the shooting, leading to a police cruiser being set on fire and a crowd scuffling with police.
The lawsuit said Schultz was alone, calm, walking slowly and had their arms at their side when four Georgia Tech officers found them. Beck shot Schultz after one of the other officers told them not to move. The school didn't properly train Beck to respond to the situation, according to the lawsuit.
“The failure to properly train its police officers in Crisis Intervention Techniques was the result of inaction and decisional failures which occurred well in advance of Schultz’ death,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit also claimed that the school, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the City of Atlanta and Fulton County prosecutors have kept details of the case from the family.
Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said he expects to decide whether to file charges against Beck soon, according to the AJC. Beck rejoined Georgia Tech’s police force in December 2017 in an administrative capacity after being placed on paid leave.
University System of Georgia and Georgia Tech spokespersons told Project Q Atlanta they do not comment on pending litigation.
Schultz’s family is seeking a jury trial, damages and attorneys’ fees.