Dashcam Video Shows PBSO Deputy Shooting Unarmed Black Man
Dontrell Stephens, who is now paralyzed from the waist down, is suing the PBSO deputy.
A police dashcam video captured a 2013 incident in which a Palm Beach Sheriff's Office deputy shot down an unarmed black man. The video, obtained by WPTV in a joint investigation with the Palm Beach Post, shows then-20-year-old Dontrell Stephens riding on his bike as the officer is following him. When Stephens realizes he's being followed, he jumps off his bike and runs. Moments later, gunshots are heard, and Stephens is shown collapsing to the ground before PBSO Deputy Andrew Lin comes into view with his gun held up.
Stephens, who had a criminal record for cocaine possession, was carrying a cell phone as he rode his bike in the early-morning hours throughout Norma Elaine Road near Haverhill Road and Okeechobee Boulevard.
According to the WPTV report, Stephens walked toward the deputy with phone in hand before the shots are fired.
The video shows another officer telling an injured Stephens to get on his stomach. Stephens responds in guttural moans that aren't quite captured on the video.
The officer tells Stephens to stop moving his hand toward his stomach. He then shouts the command a second time.
"I don't want to leave him like this," Lin is heard to say. "I don't know where the bullet holes are."
WPTV reports that moments following the shooting, the video shows Lin speaking with another deputy explaining what happened.
"I got your back, man," the other deputy responds. "I got your back. Hey, you hear me?”
Lin was eventually cleared of the shooting by the State's Attorney's Office and PBSO, which ruled that the shooting was justified.
WPTV says Sheriff Ric Bradshaw defended the shooting at the time.
Stephens, who is now paralyzed from the waist down, is suing the sheriff and Lin.
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A request for comment from PBSO on the video and the lawsuit has yet to be returned to New Times.
The incident recalls another case, in 2012, when two PBSO deputies pinned a 17-year-old Devin Jolicoeur to the ground before shooting him.
Jolicoeur died from his wounds. That shooting was also ruled as justified, even though several witnesses say they never saw Jolicoeur draw a weapon of any kind.
Another unarmed man, Seth Adams, was shot in the chest and stomach and killed by PBSO in 2012. Once again, the State Attorney's Office ruled that the shooting was justified and that the deputy acted "within protocol."
Adams' family has launched a civil lawsuit against PSBO over his death.
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