US Marshals Seize Everything Deputy Owns To Pay For Illegal Shooting

Deputy Adams Lin

Deputy Adams Lin

Federal marshals have seized the car, furniture and other belongings of a Palm Beach sheriff’s sergeant who was found liable by a jury for shooting an unarmed man, leaving him paralyzed. The property was seized Saturday at Deputy Adams Lin’s house, according to Barry Golden, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service.  Four marshals knocked on Lin’s townhouse door and served him the court order detailing how his property would be taken, said Stephens’ attorney, Jack Scarola.

Dontrell Stephens

Dontrell Stephens

Among the items taken: his car, couch, coffee tables, end tables, lamps, his collection of Samurai swords, flatscreen TV, iron, ironing board, computer, golf clubs, bicycle, tools, and almost all of his non-Sheriff’s Office clothing, Scarola said. “I don’t think we took any shoes and I don’t think we took any underwear,” Scarola said. But “shirts and pants and shorts are all gone, jackets.” “We left behind cups and saucers and dishes,” he said. “There’s nothing of any significant value in those.”

A jury awarded Dontrell Stephens — the wounded man who was left unable to walk — more than $23.1 million, an amount later lowered to $22.4 million, in a lawsuit against Lin and the Sheriff’s Office.

The shooting happened in September 2013 when Lin, then a deputy, pulled over Stephens for a bicycle infraction. Lin said he was afraid for his life, but later learned Stephens had only been holding a broken cellphone. Lin fired four bullets. Three remain lodged in Stephens’ body, two in his arm and one in his spine. The one in his spine left Stephens paralyzed and needing to use a wheelchair.

The Sheriff’s Office is appealing the jury verdict. If the agency is unsuccessful, Stephen’s lawyers said they can seek $200,000 from the agency. Money after that amount must be approved by the Florida Legislature.  Scarola said he warned the Sheriff’s Office ahead of time that he’d seize property if the Sheriff’s Office didn’t pay the first $200,000 of the jury award. He said they declined.

 

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