Alabama’s police chief says department policies were violated in the fatal shooting of a black man outside a home
Alabama’s police chief said he believed department policies were violated when officers shot and killed a man during a dispute with a tow truck driver, but he did not say what those policies were.
Decatur Police Chief Todd Binion wrote in a statement Friday that the department has completed an internal investigation into the Sept. 29 shooting death of Steve Perkins. The shooting death of a black man in front of his home sparked regular protests in the north Alabama city. Perkins, 39, was killed by a police officer while officers were escorting a tow truck driver trying to recover Perkins’ truck.
The truck driver called officers to the scene and said the homeowner pulled a gun, the Decatur Police Department said in an initial public statement. The man, identified as Perkins, later threatened the driver and “pointed the gun at one of the officers,” police said. The Perkins family disputed the police version of events.
“I found reason to believe that the policies were violated and the final report and findings were sent to the Legal Department and outside counsel late this afternoon to prepare formal documents to move forward with the discipline process,” Binion wrote in a statement.
The mayor will conduct a review and “make a final determination as to whether and to what extent discipline was warranted,” Bennion said. He added that the officer who fired the shots is still on administrative leave. The ministry did not announce the officer’s name or race.
A neighbor’s home security camera video, posted by WAFF, captured the shooting. The video shows the truck backing into the driveway. An officer is heard shouting: “Police, get on the ground,” and shots are immediately fired in quick succession. Police have not released body camera footage of the shooting.
An attorney representing Perkins’ family told The Associated Press last month that Perkins was unaware the officers were there before they immediately opened fire on him. The Perkins family issued a statement saying the truck’s payments were up to date so the truck should not be towed.
Perkins’ brother, Nick Perkins, told WAFF there was a “slight sense of relief” to hear the police chief admit that policies had been violated, but the investigation took too long.
“We saw the cameras. We saw the video footage,” Nick Perkins said.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is investigating the shooting.
“This has been an extremely painful chapter for Decatur, and I realize that healing will not happen for many until all information that can be disclosed is made public, all resolutions regarding policy violations and state law are completed, and potential lawsuits are resolved,” Bennion wrote. .
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