DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — In the wake of an officer-involved shooting that killed Stephen Perkins, protestors took to the Hudson Memorial Bridge on October 19. Multiple protestors were charged with disorderly conduct, and they told News 19 they were turning themselves in on Tuesday.
That protest stopped both southbound lanes of traffic atop the bridge and caused traffic to back up for several miles, according to the Decatur Police Department (DPD). Decatur Police issued arrest warrants against the accused people involved for misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct.
Morgan County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Mike Swafford spoke to the accused protestors ahead of them turning themselves in.
Under Alabama law, disorderly conduct is a Class C misdemeanor, with a sentence that can include up to three months in jail and a maximum $500 fine.
DPD said it has made a specific effort to give protestors the space necessary to exercise their constitutional rights without interference. However, officials said there have been situations where it has been necessary to make arrests to ensure the safety of both the protestors and those citizens and motorists who are not involved.
“As we have previously stated publicly, we will continue to enforce the law and arrests should be expected when certain actions of violators include vandalism, violence or impeding roadways that could impact providing basic public safety services to the rest of the community,” DPD said in a statement.
DPD called the protest on the bridge a hazardous situation for motorists and emergency vehicles attempting to cross the bridge to come into and through Decatur.
Stephen Perkins was killed by Decatur Police in the early morning hours of September 29 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 with a mounted light toward an officer, and the officer shot at him.
The Perkins Family and protesters have called for the body camera footage to be released since Perkin’s death.
The case remains under investigation by ALEA.