A former Alabama police officer has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in the fatal shooting of a man in front of his own home during a dispute with a tow truck driver.
Mac Bailey Marquette, 23, entered the not guilty plea through his attorney, court records show.
Steve Perkins, 39, was shot and killed on Sept. 29 when officers with the Decatur Police Department accompanied a tow truck driver trying to repossess Perkins’ truck. The driver reported that Perkins pulled a gun, so officers accompanied the driver when he went back to the home, police said.
Liz Young, a defense attorney representing Marquette, said he was acting “in defense of his life and others.”
“We are disappointed that he is being prosecuted for such a clear case of self-defense and justified force. Officer Marquette adamantly denies any wrongdoing and his defense team will work zealously on his behalf,” Young said in an emailed statement.
The fatal shooting of the Black man at his own home by a white police officer drew regular protests across the north Alabama city before the arrest.
Video from a neighbor’s home surveillance camera video, broadcast by WAFF, captured the shooting. An officer is heard shouting “Police, get on the ground.” Shots are then fired in rapid succession. Police have not released body camera footage of the encounter.
The police department initially said that officers ordered Perkins to drop his weapon and he refused. They later said that was incorrect and that no such command was given.
Perkins’ family issued a statement saying that the truck payments were up to date so the vehicle shouldn’t have been towed.
Marquette was dismissed from the police force after the shooting.