The Decatur Police Department vowed to be transparent during the investigation into the death of Stephen Perkins.
Perkins, 39, was shot and killed on September 29 by officers during an incident with a tow truck driver. The tow truck driver was trying to repossess Perkins' truck and told police he flashed a gun at them. So, he went back with police backup. That's when Perkins came outside, was told to get on the ground, and was shot multiple times.
Decatur Police Chief Todd Pinion said some of the initial information was incorrect.
"Our news release and social media post indicated the officer ordered Mr. Stephen Perkins to drop his weapon before shooting," Pinion said. "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.
"That means that we also erred in stating Mr. Perkins' refuse' to drop his firearm prior to the shooting. I apologize for the inaccurate description of the encounter in our initial statement, and we have already taken steps to improve our public information sharing process."
An attorney for the Perkins family said Perkins did not have time to comply with police before he was gunned down, and they have home surveillance video to prove it.
Decatur Police refuse to release body-worn video of the incident, pending an investigation by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) and an internal investigation.
"At this time, Alabama law prohibits me from sharing information about any evidence in the incident or releasing any body-worn camera video," Chief Todd Pinion said. "I look forward to the time when we have the full picture of what occurred and we are able to share that with you, no matter the outcome of both investigations."
It is unclear what law Pinion was referring to when he said Alabama law prohibits him from sharing information. When 1819 News attempted to get an answer Thursday, the person who answered the phone said everyone was out sick and no one could talk.
ALEA said in a press release that Perkins "brandished a weapon towards officers" during the incident, which led to the shooting.
Pinion said the shooting was unfortunate and that the department would review policies pending the internal investigation.
"Investigations take time to complete, but I pledge transparency in providing any information we are able to share as soon as it is able to be released," he continued.
When ALEA concludes its investigation, findings will be presented to the Morgan County District Attorney's Office.
Family members of Perkins said the tow truck driver had the wrong vehicle and was attempting to illegally repossess his truck.
Protests have been ongoing in Decatur since the shooting. Over the weekend, nine arrests were made for obstructing traffic on main roadways and disorderly conduct.
To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email [email protected].
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.