DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) – Mayor Tab Bowling of Decatur made a statement on Monday morning regarding the investigation into the Decatur police officer who fatally shot a man.
Wearing a protective mask due to a bout with Covid Mayor Bowling made his first public statement since Decatur Police Chief Todd Pinion concluded his investigation that he believes that city policies were violated by the officers.
Perkins was killed by police in the early morning hours of Sept. 29th, following an incident surrounding a vehicle repossession. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) was notified, responded to the scene and began its investigation of the shooting.
The Decatur Police Department opened an internal investigation following the shooting, and the officer involved was placed on administrative leave. Pinion released a statement on Nov. 9, saying the department’s internal investigation was completed but indicated his recommendation is not the last word on possible discipline.
Pinion said on Friday that he ‘found reason to believe that policies were violated’ in Perkins’ death. His opinion is that discipline is warranted.
During public comments at the city council meeting dozens of people voiced their displeasure with what they called a continued lack of transparency from city officials while continuing their call for Mayor Bowling to step down immediately.
“For the taxpayers’ sake I think he should step down and let someone else take over the job,” Pastor Claudette Owens of the Shiloah Missionary Baptist Church in Decatur said.
City Council President Jacob Ladner called for an outside review to look into policy, leadership and the culture of the police department.
“There’re some changes that need to made and there’s some improvements that need to be made,” Ladner said. “I think that’s clear, and I’m committed to making that happen as one guy with one vote.”
Bowling says outside attorney Robert Lockwood of Huntsville will review the police department’s internal investigation and is expected to recommend disciplinary action.
Mayor Bowling said in his statement:
Counsel for the City advises me that he is in receipt of Chief Pinion’s determinations. He anticipates recommending discipline as a result those determinations and providing me with a formal statement of charges and specifications on Wednesday, November 22. Hearings on any proposed discipline will be tentatively scheduled for December 4, subject to the availability of the parties and witnesses.
In any hearing, I will hear the facts of the case and decide if discipline is warranted and to what extent. Under Alabama law, any decision can be appealed to the Personnel Board if any officer is disciplined.
The Decatur Police Department has committed, and I have committed, to make the findings of these hearings public.
As a reminder, the City can only look into potential violations of City policy. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is conducting the criminal investigation.
I also want to make a personal comment. Thanksgiving is Thursday. Thanksgiving is a day of reflecting on our blessings and spending time with family and loved ones.
For the Perkins family, this will undoubtedly be a hard day. They will have an empty seat at their table. They will be missing their father, husband, brother, and friend.
I ask for all Decatur citizens to keep them in their prayers.
And beyond that, I ask for prayers for this process – for justice, for healing, and for peace for everyone involved. I ask you to join me in praying for Steve Perkins’ family and friends, for those who are hurting, for our law enforcement officers and first responders, and for our City.Mayor Tab Bowling