Alabama agency completes review of fatal police shooting in man’s front yard

Dec 26, 2023, 4:27 PM

DECATUR, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said Tuesday that it has completed an investigation into a fatal police shooting where a man was killed in his front yard during a dispute with a tow truck driver.

The state agency did not announce any findings but said its investigative file has been turned over to the Morgan County district attorney. A telephone message left with the district attorney’s office was not immediately returned.

Steve Perkins, 39, was shot and killed by police on Sept. 29 when Decatur police officers accompanied a tow truck driver, who told police he had been threatened by the homeowner when trying to repossess a vehicle, back to the home. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said in a September news release that Perkins was armed with a handgun equipped with a light and “brandished the weapon towards an officer with the Decatur Police Department, causing the officer to fire at Perkins.”

An attorney for the Perkins’ family said officers immediately opened fire on Perkins, who did not appear aware of their presence before he was shot. The family of Perkins, a Black man, issued a statement saying the truck payments were up to date, which is why he was disputing the attempt to tow it.

Video from a neighbor’s home surveillance camera published by WAFF-TV captured the shooting. An officer or officers appear to run out from beside the house. One is heard shouting, “Police, get on the ground,” and a large number of shots are immediately fired in rapid succession.

Perkins’ family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and others. The city fired three police officers in response to the shooting. News outlets report that the officers are appealing their dismissal.

The fatal shooting has drawn regular protests in the north Alabama city. Protesters carried signs reading, “You could have knocked” and “We need answers.”

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Alabama agency completes review of fatal police shooting in man’s front yard