DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — For weeks, protests have continued throughout the City of Decatur, calling for justice following the police shooting death of Stephen Perkins.
On Thursday evening, according to social media video, protesters used the Hudson Memorial Bridge to send their message, blocking rush hour traffic in the process. They also protested outside Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling’s house later that same night.
The group ‘Standing in Power’ said in a news conference Friday that throughout all these demonstrations, officers have made unnecessary arrests, often acting with aggression.
“I don’t see it being just for them to just arrest people for just being in the streets. These are minor offenses that don’t deserve the type of treatment that we’ve received on the streets,” Terrance Adkins, the Standing in Power co-founder said during the conference.
‘Standing in Power’ says they have filed reports with the Department of Justice and the FBI to investigate the case and investigate how protesters are being handled by the police.
According to Decatur Police Chief Todd Pinion, 11 arrests have been made and one person was hospitalized. Some protesters say that the person was injured as a result of excessive use of force during an arrest.
‘Standing in Power’ is calling for Chief Pinion to allow protesters to exercise their First Amendment right without feeling threatened – while also working toward their ultimate goal.
“The shooting was unjust, and we are demanding that the officers and as well as the tow truck driver be terminated, arrested and be prosecuted,” Lawrence Souffraint, a Standing in Power member, said to News 19.
Later that night, Chief Pinion responded saying, “Since the last update, there has only been one additional arrest for disorderly conduct from Wednesday, October 18th, 2023… One individual entered guilty pleas to 3 counts of disorderly conduct. Pursuant to the plea agreements reached in two of the cases, this individual is serving 15 days of a 90-day sentence and was placed on probation.”
Pinion also said that Perkins was an acquaintance from a gym they both frequented and they routinely saw and spoke with each other while working out.
Finally, Pinion did confirm that the two other officers involved with the shooting were placed on administrative assignment.