OFFICER HAD LEGAL ALTERNATIVES BUT CHOSE NOT TO USE THEM
By Marty Carlson
Sgt Adams Lin
On September 13, 2013, Dontrell Stephens, who was on a bicycle, was stopped by Palm Beach County Sheriff Deputy Adams Lin.
Now Sgt. Adams Lin, stated that he only intended to stop him, as for identification and find out where he had come from and where he was going. He did acknowledge that he was suspicious of Stevens would not been seen in the neighborhood before that morning.
Deputy Lin had thought the way Stevens rode his bicycle was suspicious, he also thought the way Stevens got off the bicycle was suspicious. In addition, he had he used lights and sirens to get him to stop.
Four seconds after Lin got out of his patrol car Stephens was shot four times leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. Lynn claimed Stevens was reaching into his waistband. No gun was found.
After a long history of public notices of Stephens past criminal history and other unrelated issues, and internal investigation and the state attorney’s office both cleared the officer of any wrongdoing in the use of force.
Local media had begun an investigation into this shooting, along with others, and discovered that one out of every four shootings in Palm Beach County deputies fired at unarmed suspects.
They also noted deputies had this disproportionally shot at young black men, which 1/3 of those were unarmed.
Nonlethal force options, such as batons, tasers were seldom used prior to the shootings.
Palm Beach Sheriff’s office rarely found fault with the deputy’s decisions to shoot, and it appeared that sometimes they were basing their decisions on cursory or incomplete investigations.
Dontrell Stephens sued Palm Beach County and has received a judgment of $22.4 million.
Now Sgt. Lin has refused to pay the $200,000 he was legally obligated to pay if the verdict is upheld on appeal.
Stephens attorney received an order from a federal magistrate to seize Lins property to pay off the judgment that is against both the deputy and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office.
The attorney was quoted as saying “it doesn’t give me any joy to do this but I have to protect my client’s interest as he is paralyzed and destitute.”
Other interested attorneys in the area said it appears attorneys representing the officer could have offered to post a bond while the case is being appealed. The bond typically for a percentage of the amount awarded, would have protected the property from being seized.
Of course, the events have outraged the Palm Beach County police benevolent Association, where the president stated he’s never heard of an officer’s belongings being taken to be sold on the auction block.
“He also stated it makes us think every time we go out and do our jobs are we going to be civilly liable? Do we have to rent all of our property?” he said this is a bad precedent.
US magistrate Barry seltzer had no choice but to approve the attorneys request to seize the property. The attorneys representing the officer and the Sheriff’s office could ask the court to stop the property from being sold at a public auction, but it may be too late.
On the other hand, the officers could offer to pay the $200,000 he is obligated, to retrieve his property.
I personally do not want to see our police officers getting personally sued like this but, some things have gotten out of control and activities have gone unchecked. Sometimes absolute power corrupts absolutely and the unions for these officers need to start speaking up on ways to protect them not just defend every move they make.
There should be a mechanism in the back of officer’s mind that goes off and tells them they may be doing something wrong and they need to stop. If there’s no accountability that will never happen, and recent years the courts have continually started to rule in favor of holding officers personally liable.
See video of the shooting below: