Three officers have been fired and one suspended without pay after a Black man was shot by police while his vehicle was being repossessed outside his home is Alabama, CNN reports.
Stephen Perkins, 39, was fatally shot on September 29 after officials said he “brandished a handgun” with a light “towards an officer with the Decatur Police Department,” according to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.
On Thursday (December 7), Decatur Police Chief Todd Pinion announced that the city’s major decided to fire three officers and suspend one following a hearing that determined the officers violated policy.
Decatur police were initially called to Perkins’ home after he allegedly pulled a handgun on a tow truck driver as he was attempting to repossess a vehicle at the 39-year-old’s home.
Officers arrived at the scene with the tow truck driver, which is when Perkins “exited the residence armed with a handgun and began to threaten the tow truck driver,” according to police.
“Officers on scene ordered the homeowner to drop his weapon, which he refused to do. It was at this time the homeowner turned the gun towards one of the Officers on scene. The Officer discharged his duty weapon, striking the subject,” Decatur police claimed.
The police chief later said the officer didn’t order Perkins to drop a weapon.
“We now know the officer identified themselves as ‘police’ and ordered Mr. Perkins to ‘get on the ground’ prior to the officer firing rather than ordering him to drop the weapon at that time as we initially reported the morning of the shooting,” Pinion said in a statement. “That means that we also erred in stating Mr. Perkins ‘refused’ to drop his firearm prior to the shooting. I apologize for the inaccurate description of the encounter in our initial statement.”
Perkins’ family argued that the 39-year-old didn’t owe money on his car, citing that they had “found financial receipts proving” he wasn’t at risk of “being in an active status of repossession” and that “monthly payments were processed through his financing company.”
“The Towing Company and City of Decatur Police Department wrongfully appeared at (his) home,” the family said in a statement.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is still investigating the incident independent of the probe completed by Decatur police.
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