DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — Loved ones and neighbors continue to fight for answers in the police shooting death of a Decatur man.
Protests continued in Decatur Monday after Decatur police shot and killed Stephen Perkins early Friday following an incident over a possible vehicle repossession. They’re calling on law enforcement officers to release the body camera video of the incident.
“The body cam is so important right now. I don’t want you to think that we’re just going to lay down…sweep this under the rug…that we’re not going to reply. We’re here and we’re here until we get justice,” NAACP Morgan County Chapter President Rodney Gordon said.
According to an initial statement from the Decatur Police Department (DPD), a local towing company called officers to 39-year-old Stephen Perkins’ home that morning. Officers say Perkins threatened the tow truck driver, pulling a gun as the driver was trying to repossess a vehicle in Perkins’ driveway.
Police say officers returned to the home with the driver where Perkins, again, came out armed with a handgun and again threatened the tow truck driver.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) says Perkins then pointed his gun at an officer and that officer shot Perkins. ALEA says Perkins was taken to Huntsville Hospital where he died from his injuries.
In a statement, Perkins’ family members say the towing company was at the wrong house. Monday’s peaceful protesters say home security video already shows it was excessive use of force, but they also want to see the officer’s body camera video.
One protestor told News 19 crew members on the scene, “Steve is my first cousin. We need answers, and we yet have gotten answers. We’re grieving and it’s not easy.”
Another person at Monday’s protest told our crew, “His neighbors are speaking up for him…and they’re not the color of me. They’re white, they’re black – everyone that knows him loves him. Everyone knows this was injustice. This should’ve never happened.”
DPD Chief Todd Pinion says ALEA is conducting the investigation so it’s the agency’s call to release the video.
“Please understand that I’m in a difficult position of trying to juggle the public’s demands for transparency and adhering to the rules of criminal procedure while not jeopardizing the integrity of the investigation,” said Pinion in a video posted to social media.
A spokesman with ALEA says this is an active investigation, and the agency cannot comment at this time in an effort to protect the integrity of the case.
Once the investigation is complete, ALEA and the Morgan County District Attorney’s office will determine if the case will be presented to a grand jury.