A South Carolina man who was killed by police after a high-speed car chase, now his sister claims in a lawsuit that three officers shot her unarmed brother 17 times in the back, as he lay on the ground.
According to the lawsuit filed in Sumter County, during the deadly confrontation on Dec. 10, Waltki Cermoun Williams “did not have a weapon” and was struck in total by 19 of the two dozen shots fired at him
The lawsuit states “Sumter Police Department officers had the obligation and opportunity to refrain from utilizing inappropriate and unnecessary deadly force. However, the officers in question made the conscious decision to use inappropriate and unnecessary force.”
The suit goes on to state that what happened to Williams “is so extreme and outrageous that it shocks the conscience.”
Williams’ sister, Tomekia Kind filed the lawsuit which seeks unspecified damages.
The court papers didn’t identify the officers who fired the fatal shots nor didn’t specify their race. However, Williams, 35, was black
The Sumter Police Department denied the allegations laid out in the lawsuit but didn’ comment beyond that. Spokeswoman Tonyia McGirt told NBC News “We haven’t even been served with the lawsuit yet.”
However, back when the incident occurred, Russell Roark Sumter Police Chief called it “a tragedy for everyone involved.” He said in a statement “This incident shows the devastating, far-reaching effects of domestic violence.”
Williams was twice found guilty of stalking and also had several motor vehicle violations on his record. He had also been accused of trying to sell a stolen car and entering a bank “with intent to steal” however, both those charges were dismissed.
C. Carter Elliott, one of Kind’s lawyers told NBC News “I think his was a pretty good guy. He had some criminal background there but none of it was crazy.”
An argument with a girlfriend in a parking lot at the Sumter Mall set off the chain of events that ended with Williams’ death.
Elliott said “It ended with a ton of shots, a lot of them in his back. 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.”
In a news release, 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.”
Williams crashed his SUV into a couple of cars which started a brief chase.
The police statement read “Williams got out the vehicle, a short foot chase followed. 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 narrates a different scenario, and there is no mention of any exchange of gunfire. It says that Williams escaped his vehicle after the crash by smashing through the back window, but managed to take about 10 steps before he was tackled by police
The suit states “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. 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.”