Ex-cop faces murder charge for shooting Black man in Alabama

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A Black man named Stephen Perkins was shot and killed by a White police officer outside his home in Decatur, Alabama, last September. The officer, Mac Bailey Marquette, 23, was fired from his job and charged with murder on Thursday by a grand jury, Morgan County District Attorney Scott Anderson announced on Friday.

Marquette was one of three officers who lost their jobs over the shooting, which happened when a tow truck company tried to take Perkins’ car away. Another officer was suspended without pay. Anderson said the other officers did not break any laws and were not charged.

Stephen Perkins, 39, was shot by police when he reportedly pointed a gun with a light at a Decatur officer, according to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. He died later at a hospital.

His death was part of a series of killings of Black men by White officers that sparked protests and calls for justice across the country since George Floyd died in police custody in 2020.

The tow truck company called the police to Perkins’ home around 1:30 a.m. and said he had pulled a gun on the driver, Decatur police said at first. When the officers got there, Perkins came out with a gun and threatened the driver, police said.

Police also said at first that Perkins did not drop his gun when an officer told him to, and that the officer shot him when he turned the gun toward him.

But later, Police Chief Todd Pinion said that was not true. He said the officer only told Perkins to “get on the ground” before shooting him, and did not tell him to drop the gun. He also said he was sorry for giving the wrong information at first.

On Friday, Anderson explained why only Marquette was charged.

He said there were four officers there when Perkins was shot, but only Marquette fired his gun. He said the grand jury looked at all the facts and evidence and decided that only Marquette broke the law.

Nicholas Perkins, Perkins’ brother, told CNN that the family was happy that Marquette was charged, but they wanted more. He said they would try to get the other officers charged by the federal government.

He said there were four officers involved and they all should be charged with something.

He also said Perkins was married and had two children.

Perkins’ family said he did not owe any money on his car and showed receipts that proved he was paying for it every month. They said the tow truck company had no right to take his car away.

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