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Steven Perkins was shot and killed by police, Decatur, Alabama

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The family of an Alabama black man is searching for answers after Steven Perkins was shot and killed by police after a dispute with a tow truck driver.

According to AP, on Sept. 29, while at home, Steven Perkins confronted a tow truck driver trying to repossess his truck. The driver called the police to report that Perkins flashed his gun, prompting officers to accompany him back to Perkins’ home.

Decatur Police allege that when they arrived on the scene, Perkins “turned the gun toward one of the officers,” and they shot him.

But, family attorney Lee Merritt says video from a neighbor’s security camera, which was published by WAFF, tells a different story.

According to Merritt, officers did not properly announce themselves before opening fire on Steven Perkins. Merritt told the media that officers opened fire within a second of ordering Perkins to get on the ground. Merrit also said that Perkins was not aware of police presence.

“They jumped up. They shouted. … Pow,” Merritt told AP.

“The policy of not announcing yourself and creeping up into people’s onto people’s properties. They will tell you it’s for officer protection, so that they’re not ambushed, but what they did here was ambush Steve,” Merritt said.

A neighbor, Justin Shepherd, also believes Perkins wasn’t given enough time to understand and respond to the officers’ demands.

He was spotlighted from behind and turned around to see who it was,” Shepherd told WAFF. “The officers were running at him yelling, and within a second, he put his hands up, and they started firing. To know something so wrong happened to him is heart-wrenching.”

Perkins’ family also claims that his truck was not in repossession and the tow wasn’t justified from the beginning. His death has sparked protests in Decatur as residents want justice for the death of Steven Perkins.

Last week, hundreds gathered outside of Decatur City Hall to hold a vigil for Perkins. Family and friends celebrated Perkins’ life and demanded authorities take action to hold officers accountable for his death.

“Not only was I his brother, but I was his friend. You have no idea how it feels to be born a protector, and the job is taken away from you, unjustly, and unwarranted,” Nicholas Perkins said during the vigil.

The city of Decatur says there is an active investigation, which the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency says will be “very thorough and methodical.” Once their investigation is complete, they are expected to turn their findings over to the Morgan County District Attorney’s Office.


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