According to a report by Atlanta Black Star on Saturday, January 13, 2024, a white former police officer in Alabama faces murder charges for fatally shooting a Black man outside his home in a case that sparked outrage and protests.
Mac Bailey Marquette, 23, was indicted by a grand jury on Jan. 5 for killing Stephen Perkins, 39, on Sept. 29, 2023, after responding to a call about a dispute between Perkins and a repossession agent.
Marquette was the only officer who fired his weapon during the incident, which involved three other officers from the Decatur Police Department.
The other officers, Joey Williams, Vance Summers, and Christopher Mukkadam, were not charged by the grand jury, but were fired or suspended by the city’s mayor, Tab Bowling, in December 2023.
All four officers have appealed their disciplinary actions and are scheduled to have hearings from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2.
Morgan County District Attorney Scott Anderson said the grand jury unanimously agreed that there was enough evidence to charge Marquette with murder, but not the other officers.
“There were four officers at the scene when this incident occurred, and there was only one officer who fired any shot,” Anderson said, according to CNN.
“After having considered all of the facts and evidence in the case, the grand jury agreed unanimously that there were no violations with regards to the laws of the state of Alabama against any other officer.”
The shooting occurred when Perkins’ vehicle was being repossessed by a towing company and the officers were called to his Decatur house.
According to Alabama law, repossessions are a civil matter and the officers were not supposed to assist the tow truck driver.
However, the officers claimed that Perkins was threatening the driver with his handgun and refused to drop it when ordered to do so. They said an officer shot Perkins when he pointed his gun at him.
However, these claims were contradicted by a neighbor’s Ring doorbell camera, which showed that the officers did not identify themselves as police and hid near Perkins’ house and across the street.
The video also showed that Marquette shot Perkins within one second of telling him to get on the ground, without giving him a chance to comply. Marquette fired 18 times at Perkins, who died at the scene.
The police department later admitted that their initial statement was inaccurate and apologized for the error.
“We now know the officer identified themselves as ‘police’ and ordered Mr. Perkins to ‘get on the ground’ prior to the officer firing rather than ordering him to drop the weapon at that time as we initially reported the morning of the shooting,” Police Chief Todd Pinion wrote on a Facebook post on Oct. 11, 2023.
“That means that we also erred in stating Mr. Perkins ‘refused’ to drop his firearm prior to the shooting. I apologize for the inaccurate description of the encounter in our initial statement.”
Perkins’ family welcomed the indictment of Marquette, but said it was only a “baby step” in their quest for justice.
They also expressed hope that the other officers would be held accountable for their role in the shooting.
Marquette was arrested and booked into the Morgan County Jail on Friday morning, the same day the indictment was announced.
He was released on a $30,000 bond after 36 minutes, according to the Alabama Political Reporter. He is expected to stand trial and face a possible life sentence if convicted of murder.