Former Decatur Police Officer questions the actions of the officers involved in Stephen Perkins’ death

WAFF 48's Megan Plotka reporting
Published: Oct. 4, 2023 at 9:14 PM CDT
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - One former Decatur Police officer says his cousin should not have been shot by the police. Marquinn Bergins says he does not believe Decatur police officers followed protocol that led to the death of Stephen Perkins.

Early Friday morning a Decatur police officer shot and killed Stephen Perkins. Officers say he was threatening a tow truck driver with a gun and then Perkins turned the gun on the officers. That’s when the officers fired several shots.

Bergins says he saw security footage of the shooting and the police department’s story isn’t adding up to him.

WAFF 48 News obtained security footage with audio where an officer says “police, get on the ground,” before he finishes his sentence, several bullets are fired.

“An officer yells a few commands while simultaneously shooting,” Bergins said. “That’s not how officers handle that. You never gave him an option.”

Bergins says in the video, officers create a perimeter before making contact with Perkins. He says that doesn’t make sense.

“To set a perimeter like that takes strategizing,” Bergins said. “That’s not something you do as you walk up on the scene and do. You are positioned so that if shots are fired. You’re not receiving any crossfire so they positioned themselves in that manner.”

Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling says he met with Perkins’ immediate family.

“I and the City of Decatur are deeply committed to the release of information as soon as it is released by the appropriate agencies and in accordance with applicable laws,” Mayor Bowling said. “All that I’ve read and heard about Steve is he’s a special man who I would have liked to have met.”

“This man literally will have you laughing from start to finish, when I tell you he’s a great person,” said Bergins. “I’m not just talking as his relative. That’s all you’ve heard. No one’s said anything negative, no one said anything to defame his name. They took a soul away that people loved and they’re wrong for that,” said Bergins. “they know they’re wrong.”

Bergins said he was with the police department from 2007 to 2017. He says he was injured while on the job he sued the department and was later fired.

State investigators are currently looking into the shooting. They say they can’t release any information until the investigation is complete.

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