DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — One man in North Alabama is using more than his voice to call for justice for Stephen Clay Perkins.
Terry Willis made headlines for his 1K mile trek from Alabama to Minneapolis in 2020 after the death of George Floyd. In honor of Perkins, the man killed in an officer-involved shooting in Decatur on September 29, Willis walked Monday from Huntsville to Decatur to raise awareness surrounding the incident.
“I wanted to do something that would speak without speaking so I decided to march…and that’s what I march for – Steve Perkins,” said Willis.
Willis went live on social media during his walk. Hundreds of people could be seen following him to the Decatur Police Department Monday night.
In Decatur, people have protested and prayed for answers in the Perkins case. Willis says he wanted to take a different approach to get answers. He told our News 19 crew on the scene that he decided to march for Perkins because he feels like community members should not wait until a tragedy happens for them to come together.
“I look around and I see so many different people and we’re all coming together for one purpose. I feel like we need to do this more often. We shouldn’t have to wait for a tragedy to happen to get together,” added Willis.
ALEA confirmed a Decatur police officer shot Perkins, 39, after authorities claimed he pointed ‘a handgun which was also equipped with a light’ at officers. Perkins later died at a nearby hospital.
The Decatur Police Department (DPD) said officers were at the home on Ryan Drive after being called by a towing company to assist them. According to the department, Perkins had threatened the tow truck driver after the driver tried to repossess a vehicle at his home.
However, family members believe that the tow truck driver was at the wrong house and protesters have said that Perkins had a flashlight, not a gun.
The case remains under investigation by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA). The officer has been placed on administrative leave, per DPD policy.