DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — Seven days after a Decatur man was killed in an officer-involved shooting and members of the community continued protesting throughout the streets of the River City Friday night.
Stephen Perkins was killed by Decatur police in the early morning hours of September 29th following an incident surrounding a vehicle repossession. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) said Perkins died in a nearby medical facility after he pointed a weapon toward an officer, and the officer shot at him.
The Decatur Police Department (DPD) says one officer has been placed on leave, but in the days following the shooting, the community feels many of their questions have gone unanswered.
Hundreds of people banded together, marching throughout the streets of the city with shirts and signs demanding justice for the death of Perkins. Friday night’s protest was one of many that happened throughout the week, and it is not expected to stop anytime soon.
A group of about 300 to 400 people marched throughout the streets of Decatur, chanting “I am Steve Perkins,” among other phrases calling for justice. Many placed an emphasis on their call to arrest all the officers who were involved in the shooting that killed Perkins.
There were additional law enforcement officers and deputies on hand at the protest. While it was peaceful for the most part, a handful of people were put in handcuffs and into the back of police cars after officers told them to get out of the streets.
Family members like Jameha Steele, a cousin of Perkins, have been participating in the protests since they began. She said something needs to be done to make sure an incident like this can never happen again.
“If you’re not mad something is wrong with you, because let me tell you this time it was Stephen, but next time it might be your brother, it may be your cousin, it might be your husband. Something has to change,” Steele said.
Many of the protesters also called for the body camera footage to be released from that night. However, the Decatur Police Chief has said they will not release the body camera video as long as the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is investigating.
Perkins will be laid to rest on Saturday following a Celebration of Life at 11 a.m. in Courtland at Wheeler Chapel Church. Community members say they will continue to protest to keep the situation from being swept under the rug.