Florida Cops Shoot and Paralyze Unarmed Black Teen

An unarmed black man paralyzed by a Florida sheriff’s deputy is suing the police department over the shooting. Newly released dash-cam footage of the incident appears to back up the victim’s claim that the officer lied about how events unfolded. Dontrell Stephens, who was 20 in September 2013, was talking on a cell phone while riding his bike through West Palm Beach, Florida. His actions were captured on the dash-cam of Deputy Adams Lin’s patrol car. Lin is a member of the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office.Stephens was shot in the left hand, twice in the elbow and once in the chest, according to the lawsuit filed by attorney Jack Scarola. He was unarmed.

Stephens was left paralyzed from the waist down.

PBSO Sheriff Ric Bradshaw defended Lin. Both are named in the lawsuit, which Scarola filed on Stephens’ behalf.

“If they don’t (comply) and they have something in their hands and they’re going to make a move towards the deputy, they’re going to defend themselves,” Bradshaw told reporters the day of the shooting, according to the Palm Beach Post.

“Stop what you’re doing and comply with us,” he added. “There’s nothing in the rules of engagement that says we have to put our lives in jeopardy to wait and find out what this is and get killed.”

An internal investigation cleared Lin of wrongdoing after four days, calling the shooting justified.

But Scarola told WPTV he discovered issues with the deputy’s statements after requesting and viewing all the video and audio recordings from the incident.

“There are no records of any commands ever made to Dontrell Stephens,” he said. “The deputy’s recorded statements following the shooting were absolutely false. Internal affairs completely ignored that evidence.”

Lin was on patrol as part of a community policing initiative in the area, which is known for drug deals, prostitution and shootings, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Moments after the dash-cam video begins, Stephens realizes he’s being followed. He pulls over, gets off his bike with the cell phone in his right hand and walks toward the deputy. He disappears for four seconds.

When he reappears, he is in the process of being shot four times by Lin.

 

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