Attorney: Body cam footage from Decatur OIS not released as expected

The family's attorney said there was an “understanding” that the Perkins family would be allowed to view body camera footage from the night Perkins died.
Published: Oct. 16, 2023 at 8:10 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 17, 2023 at 8:18 PM CDT
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - An attorney representing the family of a man who was shot and killed by Decatur Police said the family has not yet seen the body camera video of the incident they expected to see on Tuesday.

Stephen Perkins was killed on Sept. 29 after police said he had a gun. Officers said they had been called to Perkins’ home by a tow truck driver who was trying to repossess Perkins’ truck.

Cannon Lambert Sr. is an attorney representing the Perkins family. He said there was an “understanding” that the Perkins family would be allowed on Tuesday to view body camera footage from the night Perkins died.

Lambert said once the family arrived to view the video on Tuesday, they were met by someone from ALEA who told them they had to fill out a request form to view the video. The family did so and is now waiting for troopers to approve their request.

“At some point somehow our lines were crossed,” Lambert said. “I’m not sure how that happened or why that would have happened but I do know they will be in a position to rectify that immediately, that’s our hope.”

The family’s spokesperson, Dr. Brenton Lipscomb, said on Monday that ALEA would release the body camera footage to the family’s legal representative, Lee Merritt, on Tuesday. This came after Dr. Lipscomb called for the release of the body cam footage on Oct. 10 and demanded the video’s release to the family by Oct. 16.

Lambert says families should be entitled to view the footage.

“The real truth is the access to evidence is something families should be entitled to and in this case, we’ll be sure that will be something that she gets,” said Lambert.

Decatur City Council President Jacob Ladner says he also wants to help get answers

“What I saw wasn’t right. and I think that’s really what the community, based on the information that we’ve seen, everyone’s seen something just doesn’t seem right about what happened,” said Councilman Ladner.

He says he’s reached out to the state to push this process along

“One of the things we can do is put pressure on our state legislatures,” said Councilman Ladner. “They can really let ALEA know this needs to be done right but we need answers and it needs to be a priority at a state level.”

Neither councilman Ladner or the Perkins attorneys have a timeline for the next steps.

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