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Crowds expected at funeral of black man killed by South Carolina officer

Walter Scott, who was shot eight times while running away from a white patrolman, died last Saturday

Crowds of mourners are expected Saturday for the funeral of Walter Scott, the South Carolina father of four who was shot repeatedly in the back while running away from a white police officer.

The death of Scott, who was apparently unarmed at the time of his killing, has reignited debate in the U.S. over race and the use of excessive force by police.

The incident was captured on video by a bystander and has resulted in a murder charge against the patrolman involved. But many are calling for more systemic change in policing, noting that Scott’s case is merely the latest high-profile example of cases in which black men has died in circumstances that may suggest over use of force.

Scott's family is expected to be escorted to Saturday’s funeral by police from North Charleston, the city that fired patrolman Michael Slager after he was charged with murder in the case.

The city wants to give Scott's family "the utmost respect and the respect that the gentleman who is deceased deserves," North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said at a press conference a few days before the funeral.

Prior to Saturday’s funeral service, due to be held at W.O.R.D. Ministries Christian Center in Summerville, mourners have held a series of vigils in honor of the dead man.

A steady stream of people gathered Friday afternoon at a wake to pay their respects to Scott, whose open casket was draped in an American flag and adorned with a Dallas Cowboys sign and a miniature figure of a player.

Scott was driving a black Mercedes-Benz when he was pulled over by Slager, 33, for a broken taillight. Video from the dashboard camera in Slager's police cruiser recorded a respectful exchange between the two men before the officer returned to his patrol car.

A few minutes later, after being told by Slager to stay in the Mercedes, Scott emerged from his car and took off running.

A second video by a bystander showed the men in a brief tussle before Scott ran again, Slager fired his gun eight times and Scott slumped into the grass.

In the days since his death, Scott has been remembered for his love of dancing and the Dallas Cowboys

An obituary published on Friday said Scott's survivors include his parents, two brothers and four children.

Al Jazeera and wire services

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