By his own telling, the first time Walter L. Scott went to jail for failure to pay child, it sent his life into a tailspin.
He lost what he called “the best job I ever had” when he spent two weeks in jail. Some years he paid. More recently, he had not. Two years ago, when his debt reached nearly $8,000 and he missed a court date, a warrant was issued for his arrest. By last month, the amount had more than doubled, to just over $18,000.
That warrant, his family now speculates, loomed large in Scott’s death. On April 4, he was pulled over for a broken taillight, fled on foot and, after a scuffle with a police officer, was fatally shot in the back. The warrant, the threat of another stay behind bars and the potential loss of yet another job caused him to run, a brother, Rodney Scott, said.
“Every job he has had, he has gotten fired from because he went to jail because he was locked up for child support,” said Scott, whose brother was working as a forklift operator when he died. “He got to the point where he felt like it defeated the purpose.”