Attorney: Man paralyzed by deputy shooting dies in hospital

MIAMI (AP), A Black man was killed after he was paralyzed and shot by a Florida deputy in 2013. His attorney announced Thursday.
According to Jack Scarola, attorney Jack Scarola, Dontrell Stephens passed away Sunday due to complications resulting from his paralysis. Scarola represented Dontrell Stephens, 28, in his civil lawsuit against the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

Scarola stated that Stephens was in hospital for three weeks prior to his death. He had bed sores and other health issues. From the 2013 shooting, Stephens was paralysed from the waist down.

Scarola stated that Dontrell lived a very difficult and sad life. I hope that Dontrell felt some relief after the case was resolved. However, any relief he did receive was short-lived.

After Stephens sued, a federal civil jury awarded him $22 million. Palm Beach Sheriff Ric Brashaw refused to pay. After many years of negotiations Bradshaw offered Stephens $4.5million, but in 2020 the state Legislature increased that amount by $1.5 million and paid $6 million. This was approved by Governor Rick Scott.

After Stephens had ridden his bicycle on a busy road, Lin, then deputy Adams Lin, followed Lin in his patrol car. Lin's dashboard camera recorded that Stephens saw Lin as Lin was approaching him while he was riding into a parking lot for duplexes. He slowed down his bike and then hopped off.

Lin, an Asian American woman, said that Stephens tried to run away from him and jumped out his car to stop him. Lin can be seen walking towards Stephens after he got off his bike. Stephens is almost out of view of Lin's dash cam, and the deputy is not visible to the dash cam when Lin fires four seconds after Stephens has jumped off his bike. Lin is still firing, and Stephens comes back in view.

Lin said that Stephens placed his left hand behind his back, flashed a dark object he thought was gun and that Stephens did the same at the civil trial in 2016. However, the dash cam video showed Stephens holding his phone in one hand and his left hand empty.

Continue the story

Stephens lawyers argued Lin should have pulled his gun as soon as he got out of his car, since he couldn't have opened fire so fast.

Stephens was sided by the jury for 3 1/2 hours, and Lin was found to have violated Stephens civil rights.

Lin was cleared by the Palm Beach Sheriffs Office of any criminal wrongdoing.