DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — Backlash continues following the police shooting death of 39-year-old Stephen Perkins in Decatur during the early morning hours of September 29.
For nearly two weeks, protesters have been calling for transparency and answers. Last week we heard from Decatur city leaders who made statements about the pain their community is feeling following Perkins’s death over a vehicle repossession issue.
On Monday night, protesters calling for ‘Justice for Perkins’ addressed the Decatur City Council during its regular work session.
That meeting ended with a six-minute statement from a longtime council member, District 1’s Billy Jackson, who is calling for the officers involved in Perkins’ death to be fired and for the police chief to resign or be terminated.
Jackson took time to convey the pain he’s experiencing, and the actions he believes should be taken. He says his family and the Perkins family “go back long before” he was born and that he knew Stephen his whole life.
He says he had candid conversations with many people who are calling for justice for Perkins. “I’ve spoken with many people that are in this room tonight. I spoke with them today and we had lots of conversations. I spoke with them candidly and they spoke with me candidly.”
Jackson told those in attendance at the meeting that his intention on Monday night was to call for the resignation or termination of Decatur Police Chief Todd Pinion. He says he doesn’t have anything against the chief, but he believes all policies and procedures that are in place ‘stop with the chief.’
“Anisa asked who is going to call for Chief Pinion’s termination or separation from the city. The mayor said, ‘no we weren’t going to do that.’ My intention today, and to be quite frank, I didn’t want a big audience here tonight, and that’s not my choice. I didn’t want a big audience here because I did not want anyone to think I was doing something or saying something to show out. And, when Devin said that I had not spoken, I had decided that I was going to wait until the end.
I came here tonight with the intention of asking for separation with Chief Pinion. I was going to ask for either his resignation or termination. I don’t have anything against Chief. I don’t, Chief. I like Chief. But the fact very simply is that all policies and procedures that are in place stop with the chief. If the council does not implement a policy for a department, then the mayor has the opportunity to do that. If the mayor does not do that, then the chief or department head can do that.”District 1 Decatur City Council Member Billy Jackson
He went on to say he believes they need to make changes within the police department and he thinks the officers involved in Perkins’s death should be terminated – and arrested.
“I do think that our department has failed. And I think that our citizens whether it was a black citizen or a white citizen or any other citizen in our community should not have been treated this way. This was an injustice in my opinion. And I think that justice will play out. I have a firm belief that justice will play off. But I think those door cams had a lot to do with justice playing out,”
Jackson says it all goes back to policies and procedures – specifically, which ones allowed the police officers to respond to Perkin’s home before 2 a.m. for something that could have been handled in a week or ten days.
“I’m not a police officer but it’s pretty clear for me that this should not have happened…” Jackson said. “I don’t know of any procedure that would have allowed us to go out there at that particular time in aid of or assisting a tow truck driver at that particular time when all we had to do was turn on the lights and knock on the door. But the thing is if a police officer is outside my house and all the lights are on, blue lights are flashing everywhere, I’m not coming out with a gun. I’m just not. To me, that’s suicide.”
As for Chief Pinion, he responded on Tuesday to the calls for his resignation or termination, saying, “I was appointed Chief of Police by this council in May 2022 and I intend to continue to lead and serve this community and our department.”
Per DPD policy, the officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave, and ALEA will continue to investigate the incident. Once ALEA’s investigation is complete, the findings will be turned over to the Morgan County District Attorney’s Office.