While Palm Beach resident Dontrell Stephens had a previous record of simple cocaine possession on his record, he didn’t appear to be doing anything wrong at all on September 13th, 2013 when officer Adam Lins followed Stephens and then shot him.
In an exclusive video released today by WPTV of a shooting that was originally deemed “justified” by the Florida State’s Attorney, Stephens can be seen riding a bicycle and talking on his cell phone just moments before officer Lins quickly pulls in behind him and gets out of the patrol car. Stephens gets off his bike and turns to face the officer then slowly begins to walk towards him, cellphone in hand. They’re both off camera for just seconds but when Stephens re-enters the frame he’s being fired upon by Lins.
Stephens survived the shooting.
Lins later claimed that he ordered Stephens on the ground but no such orders can be heard. Whether that’s because Lins never gave the order or because it couldn’t be heard over the patrol car’s radio is unclear.
After the shooting, Lins can be heard speaking with another deputy:
“He starts backing away,” Lin explains. “I said, ‘Get on the ground, get on the ground.”
Then, the other deputy is heard saying, “I got your back man. I got your back. Hey, you hear me?”
Deputy Lin responds, “Yeah, I know.”
Stephens’ attorney is now suing the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office alleging that the department’s Internal Affairs division willfully and purposefully ignored the evidence presented by the dashcam video which call into question officer Lins’ sworn statement.
“The deputy’s recorded statements following the shooting were absolutely false. Internal affairs completely ignored that evidence.”
In 2013, police claimed that Stephens tried to run away from Lins and news reports accentuated that Stephens possessed a small amount of marijuana. The Sheriff’s office also claimed that Stephens reached for a dark object in his pants which the new video reveals to be untrue since the cellphone that was supposedly in Stephens’ pocket was actually in his hand the entire time.
A video of the original report can be seen below.