And here we see the critical intersection of overarmed, poorly trained police, bad policing policies, idiotic drug laws, and a besieged minority population. The story:
A Florida man shot and paralyzed by a sheriff’s deputy during a controversial stop was unarmed and backing away when the cop opened fire, dashcam video obtained by WPTV and The Palm Beach Post shows.
Dontrell Stephens, then 20, was riding his bike through a South Florida neighborhood when Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy Adam Lin pulled up behind him in his cruiser, driving over grass lawns to employ a stop-and-frisk tactic the department said is common in high crime areas, according to The Post.
Footage from the Sept. 13, 2013 confrontation was released Thursday as part of a federal suit appears to show Lin shoot Stephens, who is black and has previous arrests for drug possession, four times just seconds after getting out of his vehicle and confronting him.
Lin’s internal affairs file contains ‘numerous use of force reports, citizen complaints and incident reviews’, according to the lawsuit.
He started working for the PBSO in 2004 and served for ten months in Afghanistan beginning in 2007.
The attorney who filed suit on Stephens’ behalf, Jack Scarola, said there were issues with the statements given by Lin and the other deputy involved in the shooting.
Scarola said: ‘There are no records of any commands ever made to Dontrell Stephens.
‘The deputy’s recorded statements following the shooting were absolutely false. Internal affairs completely ignored that evidence.
Why was he being pulled over? Suspicious deployment of a bike while black and suspicious dismount from a bike while black:
On the last morning of the last day Dontrell Stephens could still walk, the 20-year-old was bicycling across Haverhill Road, talking to a friend on a cellphone.
A truck slowed as he rode against traffic.
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy Adams Lin was watching schoolchildren waiting for a bus.
Later, he would say he followed Stephens to give him a traffic ticket for not bicycling properly. But he also would acknowledge he was suspicious of Stephens, whom he had not seen in the neighborhood before that morning, according to court records.
He intended to stop him, ask for identification and find out where he had come from and where he was going. He considered frisking him. But Lin, who is of Asian descent, denied racially profiling Stephens, who is black, and wore his hair in long dreadlocks.
When Stephens turned down a side road, Lin followed, stepping on the gas, turning on the siren and then the lights. He thought the way Stephens rode his bike was suspicious. He thought the way Stephens got off his bike was suspicious.
So there you have it. A black population under assault, a black man wary of police ginning up charge or abusing them- particularly fearful because of his recent arrest, a trigger happy cop using bad policing techniques (stop and frisk) to harass anyone at will, a community where there are no repercussions for police shooting people so they make no effort to de-escalate or proceed with caution. All Lins needed to say was he was afraid, and he was cleared and free to go. Why no- of course he wasn’t racially profiling him- why every big city cop gets suspicious when they see someone they don’t recognize!
Some questions. Why did Lins even get out of the car? Why was a man armed to the teeth wearing body armor afraid of a guy in a t-shirt. Why did he think Stephens was holding a “gun” to his head talking to it while riding his bike? Why did he need to stop and frisk someone just riding his bike? When will this insanity stop.