A police chief in Decatur, Alabama, is taking accountability for giving inaccurate information before officers shot and killed a homeowner during an incident with a tow truck driver, Associated Press reports.
Decatur Police Chief Todd Pinion put out a statement admitting to rushing to releasing information and gave an inaccurate description of officers’ commands regarding the shooting of Steve Perkins on Sept. 29.
“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,” Pinion wrote.
The Perkins was killed in front of his home after a confrontation began with a tow truck driver trying to repossess his truck. The truck operation claimed Perkins flashed a gun, alerting officers to accompany the driver when he went back to Perkins’ home. The Decatur police department inaccurately said that officers ordered Perkins to drop his weapon and that he refused. According to Pinion, what was actually happened was the officers identified themselves as “police” and ordered Perkins to “get on the ground.”
Video and audio from a neighbor’s surveillance camera, obtained by WAFF 48, shows an officer shouting “police, get on the ground” and shots fired almost immediately after. Neighbor Justin Shepherd believes that changes the whole story.
“It broke my heart,” Shepherd said. “The officers were running at him at yelling, and within a second, he put his hands up, and they started firing.”
Shepherd feels Perkins didn’t have enough time to respond to the officers’ commands.
The Perkins family attorney, Lee Merritt, disputed those claims and said officers didn’t announce their presence upon arrival on Perkins’ property and opened fire within a second of telling Perkins to get on the ground. Merritt also said the victim didn’t appear to be aware of police presence. Protests in support of the victim’s family have been happening daily while the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency opens an investigation into the shooting.
According to a statement from the family, Perkins’ truck payments were up to date, so the truck shouldn’t have been towed.
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