Family, protesters react to Decatur police chief’s newly released statement

WAFF 48's Matthew King reporting
Published: Nov. 18, 2023 at 12:23 AM CST
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - Protesters took to Decatur streets after the announcement from Chief Todd Pinion that officers violated policy during the fatal shooting of Steve Perkins.

Nick Perkins, brother of Steve Perkins, said he is pleased over the decision.

“It makes me feel good,” Perkins said. “We’ve seen the cameras. We’ve seen the video footage. It’s almost like you had your hand caught in a cookie jar. We know that, but to hear the chief admitted it, gives a slight sense of relief.”

In a lengthy statement, Chief Pinion said he believes discipline is warranted in this situation and went as far as apologizing for Perkins truck being allowed to leave a crime scene by a tow truck while he lay dying in his front yard.

Pinion said, “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.”

Nick Perkins said it’s taken too long to reach this decision.

“Had this been a different situation turned around, the police could have been exonerated quickly,” he said. “We would have seen that tape two or three days afterwards. It would have produced a different direction. But since it has taken so long, its produced anxiety and its produced frustration.”

Other protesters said today’s decision is just the beginning.

“He said that policies and procedures were broken,” Protester Briona Watkins said. “We told him and the rest of the city council that the Monday after Steve’s murder, the first council meeting. We told them they were broken. We already knew that.”

They took to Decatur streets to keep the focus on justice for Steve Perkins. Protesters said the goal was continue to be peaceful in honor of the Perkins family.

While protesters gathered near The Little Cigar Shoppe on 2nd Avenue, a figure smashed the windows of the shop. This was captured on video by a WAFF 48 reporter.

Protesters immediately questioned the masked figure, and tried to run them down. Protesters said the figure pulled a gun on them, preventing them from catching the figure.

Protest organizers said they were frustrated at the incident, as it took away from their peaceful message.

Nick Perkins sent a statement to WAFF 48, saying the actions were not reflecting the entire movement for Steve Perkins’s justice.

The full statement from Nick Perkins can be read below:

We would like to thank the citizens of Decatur for their overwhelming support as we continue to fight for Justice for our beloved Stephen Clay Perkins.

We were saddened to hear about the destruction of property during last night’s protest.

For the last 6 weeks a very dedicated group of citizens have peacefully protested without incident. The destruction of property by an isolated individual is not a reflection of the peaceful protests of this movement nor the values of the Perkins family.

We do however understand that as this process continues to be drawn out , frustrations will continue to mount, until our City’s leadership provides the transparency and accountability this City deserves.

We appreciate each of the businesses and individuals who support our family and the Justice for Steve movement. We are forever grateful. Your love and encouragement means more than words can express.

Our hope now is that the Mayor and District Attorney Scott Anderson will take swift and appropriate action to hold those responsible for Stephen’s death accountable and bring this City the healing it so desperately needs.

Nick Perkins

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