The police officer who shot and killed an LGBT student president had no crisis training
The police officer who shot and killed an LGBT student president had received no crisis intervention training, it has been revealed.
On Saturday night, 21-year-old Scout Schultz was shot dead after approaching campus police officers at Georgia Tech.
Police said the fourth-year computer engineering student, who identified as bisexual, non-binary and intersex, was holding a knife.
But it has emerged that Scout was instead carrying a folded up multi-purpose tool.
Violent protests broke out on Monday at a vigil held for Scout, with a police SUV set on fire and two officers injured in the ensuing chaos.
Scout’s mother questioned why police had needed to kill her child.
Speaking to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, she asked: “Why didn’t they use some non-lethal force, like pepper spray or Tasers?”
The GBI has said that though Georgia Tech officers do not have Tasers, they do carry pepper spray.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), which is looking into the incident, revealed that the officer who shot Schultz is called Tyler Beck, and said he has been placed on paid leave.
Beck, who became an officer in May last year, has not received any crisis intervention training, local authorities have told BuzzFeed News.
Vernon Keenan, director of the GBI, said the training educates officers on how to deal with situations when facing someone in “psychiatric crisis.”
He added: “The objective is to de-escalate a situation and hopefully minimise the potential to employ force.”
The training is not mandated by the state, authorities said,
67 out of Georgia Tech’s 89 officers have not undergone the training, which constitutes a 40-hour long course.
The attorney for Scout’s family, L. Chris Stewart, said the officer’s lack of training was “shocking.”
He said about Beck: “I knew it had to be something with training or inexperience, and it proved to be true.”
The attorney praised another officer on the scene who he said tried to calm the situation down, saying: “He knew it was an obvious mental health situation and didn’t want to take Scout’s life.”
Scout’s father told BuzzFeed News: “No parent wants to be organising a funeral for their kid.
“It’s incredibly sad. We’re working our way through it, and we shouldn’t have to.
“This should not have happened.”
The police have released a call Scout made to emergency services before the incident, in which they report someone matching their own description “skulking around with a knife…and he might have a gun”.