Stephen Perkins’ family lawyer ‘disappointed’ at not seeing police shooting footage

One of Stephen Perkins’ family lawyers could not view the police camera footage of his shooting after flying from Chicago today expecting to do so.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said the attorney needs to fill out a form first before it considers allowing the viewing of the video, attorney Cannon Lambert, Sr., told this afternoon in front of Perkins’ home in Decatur.

Perkins died on Sept. 29 after the Decatur police shot him. ALEA is investigating the case.

Home camera footage from a neighbor indicated police shouted at Perkins to get to the ground and immediately started firing at him.

Another family attorney, Lee Merritt, said he sustained seven gunshots.

Police said a tow truck driver was at the house to repossess his truck at about midnight, and Perkins threatened him with a gun. The tow truck driver came back about two hours later with the police, the legality of which has been disputed.

“Obviously, the family is really disappointed,” Lambert told in front of Perkins’ house on the 5900 Block of Ryan Drive.

He flew in from Chicago, Ill. “They knew that we were flying down for the purpose of seeing the video so that we could share with them what was on the video.”

“Instead, we were told to go through legal channels, submit a form, and then a determination would be made as to whether we would be given an opportunity to see the video or not,” he added.

“Upwards of a week ago, Mr. Merritt had, from his vantage point, confirmed that we’d be able to come and see the video, and today was the day that I flew down for that purpose.”

“We were informed today, though, that we have to go through legal channels. That was not something that was previously disclosed to Mr. Merritt.”

Merritt requested to view the police bodycam footage on Oct. 6, he told in a Zoom interview last week.

A 2023 Alabama law provided that a “personal representative of a deceased individual” may apply to see the footage. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency did not immediately respond to’s request for comments on this story.

A family member who spoke with today believed the government agency’s move is a stalling tactic.

“I feel like they’re trying to hide something because if there was something on that tape that exonerated or proved the officers were justified in doing what they did, then I think they would have released it,” Sheree Head, who is Perkins’ cousin, said this afternoon. “I think they want to wait until this situation is no longer in the headlines as much for the city of Decatur. But for the family, this will always be front page for us.”

“There’s never going to be a bigger story for us,” she added. “I think they’re stalling because they’re afraid of what public opinion is going to be, but that cannot be a concern when you have a grieving wife who needs to know what happened at her home.”

Daily protests had been going on in Decatur with calls for the release of the footage and the firing of the police officer who shot Perkins. Briona Watkins, one of the organizers, asked ALEA not to “cover up the truth” in reaction to the news that the lawyer did not view the police bodycam footage today. Authorities have also not released the name of the officer who shot Perkins.

“The family not being able to see the body cam is absolutely ridiculous,” Watkins said in a text message to “The request to see the footage by the 16th was communicated days ago, so if certain paperwork had to be completed to fulfill that request, that should have been communicated to the family in the beginning!”

“It seems as if they are doing everything they can to delay this process! We already know the truth from other videos made public the last two weeks, but they could have the decency to let his wife see the last moments of her husband’s life! She deserves that much! No more trying to cover up the truth! We are tired of the lies and hesitancy!”

Attorney Lambert told that the family should not wait longer to see the video.

“We believe very strongly that we’re entitled to the video,” he said. “It strikes us that the family, at the very minimum, shouldn’t need to go through legal channels to see the video.”

“We’re disappointed that the family is still in a position where they don’t know what happened and why, and that’s something we want to see rectified as quickly as possible. Anytime you have anything that resembles or suggests there to be a hurdle, you do find yourself a little disappointed by that.”

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