In the statement, Pinion said “inaccurate information” was included in the original statements made about the incident. On Thursday, News 19 spoke with several people in the community about the new statement.
Jwaneca Miller, a woman who said Perkins was her uncle, said “Todd [Pinion] really could’ve kept that apology that he gave.”
Miller said she doesn’t need to see police body camera footage of what happened, or need a synopsis of events from law enforcement, because, “we got everything we needed off the ring camera.”
“Y’all need to prosecute and terminate,” she said in reference to the officers involved. Miller also said the death of Perkins has been hard for everyone to process. “You took away a great son, you took away a great brother, a husband, and a dad,” she said.
“Those kids deserve to have their dad in their life, those kids deserve for their dad to grow old, they deserve to be walked down the aisle by they dad, they deserve to give their dad grandkids,” Miller said.
News 19 spoke with Miller while she was sitting outside Decatur City Hall & Police Department. She said she has been spending her lunch breaks and free time there, as a way to make sure Stephen Perkins isn’t forgotten about.
“I will be here every day,” she said. “I will be here because something has to be done. The more that they feel like they can just brush this up under the rug and not say anything about it, they’re going to continue to do it. If we stop [sitting watch], they’re going to stop [investigating].”
Miller said she believes the statement released by Decatur Police Chief Todd Pinion on Wednesday, which admitted to inaccuracies, only came after Councilman Billy Jackson called for Pinion to resign or be terminated.
“It’s been two weeks, it took for Billy Jackson to say something about Todd [Pinion] for Todd to issue a public apology that he should’ve gave two weeks ago,” she said. “We don’t want it, I don’t want it, and I hope that no one else accepted it or wanted it either.”
The statement from Chief Pinion said, “In our initial rush to release information to the public on the morning of September 29, we provided inaccurate information about the interaction between Mr. Perkins and the officer.”
The statement went on to say, “Our news release and social media post indicated the officer ordered Mr. Stephen Perkins to drop his weapon before shooting. 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.”
The statement added, “That means that we also erred in stating Mr. Perkins “refused” to drop his firearm prior to the shooting”.
Chief Pinion ended that paragraph by saying, “I apologize for the inaccurate description of the encounter in our initial statement, and we have already taken steps to improve our public information sharing process.”
Miller said in addition to the heartbreak that the shooting has caused, the inaccurate version of events that was shared by the police department in news releases and on Facebook hurt Perkins’ reputation.
“You put it on Facebook and you let these people dog this man’s character to nothing,” she said. “You had people talking about him that didn’t even know the kind of person he was.”
Miller said she’s also frustrated that both the original statements that had “inaccurate information” are still posted to the Decatur Police Facebook page.
Thursday, members of the Morgan County Chapter of the NAACP were also in front of City Hall. They were there to lay new flowers on the memorial for Stephen Perkins.
President of the chapter, Rodney Gordon, said he wants Pinion to give an on-camera statement, given the new information, and to recant the original statement. “I need him to make that same announcement he made when he put it out there, to call a press conference and recant it,” Gordon said.
At this time the shooting is still under investigation by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA).