Prosecutor: Body cameras made it easier to clear Sumter officers - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Prosecutor: Body cameras made it easier to clear Sumter officers in deadly shooting

Shooting scene (Source: WIS) Shooting scene (Source: WIS)
Waltki Cermoun Williams (Source: Family) Waltki Cermoun Williams (Source: Family)

By JEFFREY COLLINS
Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A South Carolina prosecutor says video from brand-new body cameras made it much easier to clear three Sumter Police officers who fired 23 shots and killed a man who fired a shot at them during a scuffle.

But because those cameras were so new, Solicitor Chip Finney almost didn't get the footage.

The state investigative report on the December shooting of Waltki Williams by Sumter police obtained by The Associated Press says the officers didn't turn on their body cameras until after they fired because things happened so fast.

But the Sumter cameras are always on, saving the last 30 seconds of footage. That did show blurry images of what authorities say was a gun, a muzzle flash and Williams' lifeless body with his finger still on the trigger.

In April, Finney announced he would not pursue criminal charges against the officers involved. 

According to Sumter Police, Williams exchanged gunshots with officers following a brief chase. His former girlfriend had called police reporting that he had threatened her and was pointing a gun at her car.

Williams' family filed a lawsuit against the Sumter Police Department and City of Sumter claiming he was unarmed at the time of the shooting.

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