Dontrell Stephens Wiki – Dontrell Stephens Biography
Dontrell Stephens is a man who was paralyzed by police bullets in 2013 will find out Wednesday if he will get a $4.5 million settlement from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office.
It’s been several years of ongoing court battles culminating in rare legislation passed by both Florida Democrats and Republicans to compensate Dontrell Stephens for his “injuries and damages as the result of the negligence of a deputy of the office,” the bill summary said.
It is now up to Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis to decide whether to award the money to Stephens or veto the Relief of Dontrell Stephens by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office bill. And he has to decide by tomorrow, according to The Tampa Bay Times.
On the morning of September 13, 2013 a Palm Beach County Deputy named Adam Lin saw a young black man with dreadlocks riding a bike down a road near a school zone. According to a police report, Stephens was “impeding traffic causing a dangerous situation,” so he pulled Stephens over.
In the report, it said that Lin told Stephens to stop “for the traffic infractions.” But Stephens “did not respond to Deputy Lin other than to stare at him. The suspect then created a situation where Deputy Lin was forced to fire his firearm injuring the suspect,” the affidavit said.
Dontrell Stephens Shooting Footage
In the Dash Cam footage of the shooting, the only thing audible is the sound of the radio in the deputy’s car. Within seconds of Stephens getting off of his bike, he was shot four times in the back by Deputy Lin, who is Asian-American.
Stephens was charged with possession of cocaine because according to the police report .7 grams of crack was in his pocket. He had no gun or weapon on him, but the bullets fired into Stephens back severed his spine, causing him to be paraplegic.
In 2016, Stephens was awarded $22,431,892.05 in a civil lawsuit against the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, only to have the decision overturned in an appeals court in January 2018, according to CBS12.
During that time, Stephens resorted to selling drugs, as he had been convicted of after arrests in 2011 and 2012. Court records show Stephens was arrested in 2016 for selling marijuana and heroin to an undercover cop and in 2017 he plead guilty to the charges. He served a 9-month sentence on house arrest to be followed by two years of probation.
$4.5 Million Settlement
According to the bill filed in the Florida legislature, “during testimony at trial, Deputy Lin stated that he mistook a cell phone, which was clearly visible throughout the encounter with Mr. Stephens, for a handgun….the only offense committed by Mr. Stephens was a noncriminal bicycle infraction.”
Stephens is now homeless and destitute, with a lifetime of nursing and medical care ahead of him. If DeSantis signs the bill, the $1.5 million of the settlement would be used for attorney fees, lobbying fees, and all other fees related to Stephens’ claim.
The other $3 million would be payable to Evett L. Simmons, who is the guardian of the property of Dontrell Stephens. The money would be used to buy a life care plan for Stephens “as compensation for injuries and damages sustained,” according to the bill.