A lawsuit alleges that Sumter, South Carolina police fired 17 shots into a man’s back as he lay on the ground last December.
35-year-old Waltki Cermoun Williams reportedly had an altercation with his girlfriend at a mall. Police came to the scene, and a car chase ensued, the Post and Courier reports. Williams crashed his car and crawled out of a window. According to the lawsuit, police then fired 17 shots into his back even though he was unarmed.
“Sumter Police Department officers had the obligation and opportunity to refrain from utilizing inappropriate and unnecessary deadly force,” the lawsuit, obtained by NBC News, states. “However, the officers in question made the conscious decision to use inappropriate and unnecessary force.”
In a statement following the incident, Sumpter Police Chief Russell F. Roark III blamed the tragedy on domestic violence.
“This incident shows the devastating, far-reaching effects of domestic violence on individuals, families, law enforcement, the Sumter community and the state as a whole,” he said.