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Decatur police chief says 'policies were violated' in officer-involved shooting death of Steve Perkins

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The Decatur chief of police says policies were violated the night of the officer-involved shooting that killed a Decatur man, Steve Perkins.

Decatur Police Chief Todd Pinion released a statement Friday regarding the conclusion of the police department's internal investigation into the case.

Pinion says the mayor will now review everything to make a final decision on possible discipline for the officers involved. 

Here is the full statement: 

The internal investigation by the Decatur Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards into the death of Stephen Perkins is complete. On Thursday, I met with the involved officers concerning the report, reviewed the findings, and gave them an opportunity to be heard before I made any decision. I found reason to believe that policies were violated and the final report and findings were sent to the Legal Department and outside counsel late this afternoon to prepare the formal documents to move forward the discipline process.

Under our merit system rules, a chief of police cannot issue discipline beyond written reprimands and it is my professional opinion that such discipline is warranted. The Mayor will conduct a review and make a final determination if discipline is warranted and to what extent.

The officer who fired his weapon remains on paid administrative leave. As a matter of policy, officers who are placed on administrative leave continue to be paid while due process takes place. The other two officers who were on-duty at the time of the shooting and the involved supervisor remain on-duty but on administrative assignments.

Additionally, I have made the determination that while the Decatur Police Department policies and procedures are accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), we will be conducting a review of all policies and updating or adding policies that could help reduce the likelihood of something like this ever happening again.

I also want to address reports in the media about Mr. Perkins’ vehicle being repossessed by the recovery company shortly after Mr. Perkins was shot. This is true, and while no policy exists for every potential situation a police department may encounter, I fully understand why the officers’ decision to allow this to occur caused additional hurt to Mr. Perkins’ family and our community. I am sorry for the additional pain caused and pledge we are working to address the culture of our police department to ensure compassion remains at the top of our core values.

I would like to remind the public that the Decatur Police Department’s administrative investigation and any outcome pertain to the violation of department policy only. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is conducting a separate criminal investigation to determine if there were any violations of Alabama law.

Finally, my thoughts remain with the family and friends of Mr. Perkins and all those in our community and beyond impacted by his death. This has been a very painful chapter for Decatur and I recognize healing will not occur for many until after all information that can be released has been made public and all determinations on violation of policy and state law completed and potential litigation resolved. As I have stated before, while the Decatur Police Department is not in control of when information pertaining to the criminal investigation will be released, I remain committed to encouraging it be shared as soon as feasible. The City of Decatur will continue to share any new information that is able to be shared as it becomes available.

STEVE PERKINS WEB

Image courtesy of the Perkins family 

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