Friday afternoon, Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling, Decatur Police Chief Todd Pinion, Decatur Fire Chief Tracy Thornton, and former youth services director Bruce Jones held a press conference.
News 19 was at that press conference, and you can watch it in its entirety by clicking here.
Prior to answering questions asked by News 19, Mayor Bowling led things off by addressing his concerns about comments made during a vigil for the shooting victim, Stephen Perkins, that was held Thursday night.
“There was an attorney who spoke and it went from peaceful to an attorney charging the residents with things that would just not be healthy for our city,” Bowling said. “The attorney that came in last night and made some of the, tried to encourage residents to damage to our city, he doesn’t live here. So he comes in and makes those kind of statements and then leaves, and he doesn’t have to live here, but our residents do.”
Decatur Police Chief Todd Pinion agreed with the Mayor.
“Obviously, I’m concerned with some of the statements that were made last night and anything, any threats to the city has to be taken credible,” Pinion said
Chief Pinion said he hopes that any future protests remain as peaceful as the protests that have happened over the past week.
“We want our city to remain peaceful, everything so far has been very peaceful and I support any peaceful protest here in the city, that is a right and I want it to continue to remain peaceful,” Chief Pinion said.
The comments that Bowling and Pinion were referencing from the vigil came from civil rights lawyer, Lee Merritt.
At the vigil Thursday night that News 19 attended, Merritt said, “If you are quiet and you don’t say anything that means you consent, if you don’t get into these streets, that means you consent, if you don’t burn something down, that must mean you consent.”
Merritt’s comments were met by loud cheers from the crowd.
“Over the course of the next 24 hours, 48 hours, over the course of the next week, over the course of the next month the people of Decatur are going to demonstrate that we do not consent to the murder of Stephen Perkins!” Merritt said.
Even with those comments, the vigil was peaceful, as were all the other protests that have happened in Decatur over the past week.
As Decatur city leaders held their press conference inside City Hall on Friday, a memorial for Stephen Perkins was growing on the steps of the building.