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Jury awards slain mayor’s family $97 million

CHARLESTON — A federal jury in Charleston has awarded the family of the former mayor of Cottageville $97 million for his shooting death.

Multiple media outlets reported the jury reached the decision Wednesday in the negligence and wrongful death suit filed by the family of Burt Reeves.

Reeves was shot by police officer Randall Price during an argument in 2011.

The award includes $7.5 million actual damages, $60 million punitive damages against the town and $30 million punitive damages against Price.

Family attorney Mullins McLeod told the jury that Price shot Reeves because the ex-mayor raised concerns about the officer’s “aggressive behavior.”

Reeves wanted Price gone and Price retaliated, McLeod said. “You certainly should be able to complain about a cop without fear of being killed,” McLeod told the jury.

Price’s attorney, Lake Summers, said Reeves suffered from bipolar disorder and was enraged when he confronted the officer, whom Summers said fired in self-defense.

Summers would not talk about the verdict.

Price was not charged in the death following an investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division.

Cottageville has several weeks to decide whether to appeal the decision.

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