DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — Decatur Police Chief Todd Pinion released a statement Monday commenting on Friday’s officer-involved shooting that left one man dead.
The shooting happened early Friday morning. According to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), an officer shot Stephen Perkins, 39, after they said he pointed a weapon toward an officer. Perkins later died at a nearby hospital.
The Decatur Police Department (DPD) said officers were at the home in the area of Ryan Drive and Poole Valley Road after being called by a towing company. According to the department, Perkins had threatened the tow truck driver after the driver tried to repossess a vehicle at his home.
However, a statement released by the Perkins Family says they believe the tow truck had come to the home by mistake.
In his statement Monday, Pinion said as soon as he heard of the shooting he called ALEA and asked that they conduct an investigation into the shooting. He said this move is standard department protocol.
He also addressed calls by the family and other members of the community for the department to release body cam footage of the incident.
“There has been discussion publicly concerning demands to have the DPD release body cam video of the incident,” the chief said. “Legislation enacted earlier this year, governs the release of body camera footage. Pursuant to that legislation, the ‘Custodial Law Enforcement Agency’ is the entity to decide when, how, and what to disclose. Because ALEA is conducting the investigation, they are the Custodial Law Enforcement Agency and they maintain all evidence in the case to include body camera videos.”
Pinion said it would be “improper and irresponsible” for him to comment on evidence in the case and he cannot legally release any of the evidence in the case. ALEA and the Morgan County District Attorney’s Office will determine if the case will be presented to a grand jury at the end of the investigation. Pinion said until that time, the DPD cannot comment on the investigation.
The chief said he recognizes that many members of the community are mourning Perkins’ loss and addressed a protest that took place at Decatur City Hall on Sunday.
“There was a peaceful demonstration at city hall yesterday and I completely respect the public’s right to peacefully protest,” Pinion said. “Please understand that I am 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.”
He said he has full confidence that ALEA will conduct a thorough and impartial investigation and asked the community for patience until that investigation is complete.