Lawsuit: South Carolina Officers Shot Unarmed Man 19 Times In The Back
Waltki Cermoun Williams
A lawsuit has been filed against a South Carolina police department, that claims that three officers shot an unarmed man 19 times in the back.
According to the suit Waltki Cermoun Williams, the victim shot multiple times by Sumter County cops, was struck in total by 19 shots (out of two dozen that were fired at him) during a confrontation that occurred on December 10 of last year. The suit was filed by Williams' sister Tomekia Kind, and seeks unspecified damages.
"Sumter Police Department officers had the obligation and opportunity to refrain from utilizing inappropriate and unnecessary deadly force," the lawsuit states. "However, the officers in question made the conscious decision to use inappropriate and unnecessary force."
The suit goes on to say that the actions carried out by the officers "is so extreme and outrageous that it shocks the conscience."
According to a police news release, the chain of events that led to Williams' death began with an argument he was having with his girlfriend in a parking lot at Sumter Mall.
Police said they were responding to reports that "a female was afraid to go outside of the mall after an estranged boyfriend threatened to kill her and was seen outside pointing a firearm at her vehicle."
A brief chase then followed, which ended with Williams crashing his SUV into a couple of cars.
"Williams got out the vehicle, a short foot chase followed," the police statement read. "There was a brief struggle and then an exchange of gunfire, the details of which are under investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division."
However, the lawsuit offers a different story, with no mention of any exchange of gunfire. Instead, it states that Williams escaped his SUV by smashing its back window, but was tackled by police upon exiting the vehicle.
"While on the ground the decedent did not have a weapon and he was not a threat in any way to the police officers on the scene," the suit states. "One of the officers moved away from the decedent (while he was still laying on the ground and not moving) and at least three (3) Sumter Police officers made the conscious decision to utilize inappropriate and improper use of deadly force by firing their service weapons indiscriminately at least twenty-four (24) times directly at and into the decedent."
"It ended with a ton of shots, a lot of them in his back," C. Carter Elliott, one of Kind's lawyers, said. "It doesn't make sense to me. There's two eyewitnesses that saw it. And we are pushing to get the (officers' bodycam) video that recorded what happened."