Noah West raised both hands in the air after he sank to his knees in the parking lot, following the instructions shouted by a Summerville police officer.
For a moment, police dash-camera footage shows West glanced backward at the white police officer behind him. What happened next has become the center of a new lawsuit filed against both the Summerville Police Department and the Town of Summerville.
The police video from March 21 shows the officer approached West with his gun drawn, pointing it at West, a Black 19-year-old in a gray hoodie sweatshirt who was kneeling in the parking lot of a Checkers fast-food chain with his hands on the back of his head.
“He didn’t do anything, sir,” the teen’s mother pleaded with the officer as he walked toward her son with his gun drawn.
Attorney Marvin Pendarvis, who is representing the family and is also a Democratic state representative in North Charleston, said he was disturbed when he first heard about what happened to West. When he saw the dashcam video, Pendarvis said became even more upset.
“It begs the question as to how far are we taking things when what should have been a routine traffic stop results in a teenager having a gun drawn on him,” Pendarvis said. “What if Noah would have made one sudden movement, or not initially complied to not get out of the car? What if that glance was interpreted as a threat? Anything can happen, especially when guns are drawn.”