After fatally shooting 39-year-old Stephen Perkins on September 29, 2023, during a vehicle repossession attempt, former Decatur police officer Bailey Marquette, 23, faces state murder charges Marquette, a white guy, shot Black man Perkins as he left his home to confront the tow truck driver. The event occurred in Decatur, a nearly 58,000-person city 26 miles southwest of Huntsville.
On September 28, an unannounced tow truck driver attempted repossession, causing Perkins to draw a revolver and claim he had no legal authority. After returning, four Decatur Police officers allegedly hid on Perkins’ property. Officers ordered Perkins to lie down after he left his home with a flashlight to calm his barking dog. Meanwhile, Marquette shot Perkins at least 18 times, killing him.
The Decatur Police Department initially said Perkins was wielding a pistol but later recanted without further facts. According to an internal review, Perkins’ car payments were current, and the repossession was improper. In December 2023, Marquette and two other cops were dismissed and one was suspended.
Perkins’ widow and kid sued the federal government for paying cops for intruding on citizens. Lee Merritt, Perkins’ family attorney, said authorities didn’t declare their presence until the last minute so that Perkins couldn’t surrender.
Community Outcry and Legal Fallout: After Officer’s Conviction, Decatur Faces Controversial Assembly Rules
Morgan County District Attorney Scott Anderson acknowledged the community’s strong reaction to Marquette’s conviction, which resulted in peaceful protests and the city council’s controversial public assembly permission requirement in a press conference. Though reluctant to prosecute an officer, Anderson believed it was the proper decision. Eight males, ten women, and 15 white grand jurors charged only Marquette. Federal authorities may investigate and charge three more policemen.
Security footage of the incident in Decatur has spurred outrage and calls for justice, highlighting law enforcement accountability.