Hundreds gather at flashlight vigil held for Stephen Perkins outside of Decatur City Hall

WAFF 48's Matthew King reporting
Published: Oct. 6, 2023 at 12:19 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 6, 2023 at 3:07 PM CDT
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - Hundreds of people gathered outside of Decatur City Hall on Thursday night for a flashlight vigil held in honor of Stephen Perkins who was shot and killed by Decatur Police on Set. 29.

Decatur Police say Perkins allegedly had a gun which ultimately led to the fatal shot. Perkins’ family say he only had a flashlight which is what so many people carried during Thursday night’s vigil in his memory. All throughout the night you could hear the chants, “I am Steve” coming from the crowd illuminated by their flashlights.

Perkins’ brother, Nicholas Perkins, stepped to the podium during the vigil to express his grief.

”Not only was I his brother, but I was his friend. You have no idea how it feels to be born a protector, and the job is taken away from you, unjustly, and unwarranted,“ he said while holding back tears.

Lee Merritt, a national civil rights attorney, announced that the Perkins family had hired him as their attorney on Wednesday afternoon. Merritt arrived on Thursday afternoon to attend the vigil as well as meet with the......

Merritt said that there has not been a community to show up like they did on Thursday night since George Floyd was killed in 2020. During his speech at the vigil, Merritt called on the community to step up and take action in achieving justice for Perkins.

”The system is not broken, but it needs to be broken,” Merritt said. “You all need to break it.”

Members of the community showed their support for the family both emotionally and socially. One member of the community says that it will take a village.

”It’s not just about money, about being seen, not about interviews, it’s about putting your foot down on the ground, putting in the work, and making sure justice for what happened,” he said. “If it takes all of our voices, then all of their voices they’re going to hear.”

Nicholas Perkins, along with may of those in attendance and in the community, made it aware that they are demanding a change within city leadership.

”We want accountability. We want responsibility. We want change,” Perkins said. “Citizens of Decatur, you all have work to do. We need new leadership. We need to push forward. Justice for Steve.”

Members of the community say they will be back in droves to protest on Friday night which will be a week since Perkins’ death.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s State Bureau of Investigation has opened a confidential tip line and has asked that anyone with any information to call 1-800-392-8011 or email at

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