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Attorneys Representing Police Misconduct Victims Across Texas

This website is maintained by the Law Offices of Dean Malone, P.C., a Dallas, Texas law firm representing people across Texas for police misconduct injury cases. We have attempted to provide useful information for those harmed by police miscponduct.

A $22.4 Million Jury Verdict Against the Sheriff’s Office in the Alleged Shooting of Dontrell Stephens is Thrown Out by an Appeals Court

Friday, January 12th, 2018

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

In 2013, a deputy with the Palm Beach County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office allegedly shot Dontrell Stephens after instructing him to dismount from his bicycle. Stephens was paralyzed from the waist down by the alleged four shots fired into his back at close range. The case went to trial in 2016, and a federal jury ruled that the deputy had used excessive, unreasonable force when he allegedly fired those shots at Stephens. A dash cam video captured the incident, which seemingly shows Stephens being shot at the moment he got off of his bicycle. The deputy claims that Stephens was holding a dark object, and he thought it was a gun. The federal jury ruled in favor of Stephens, awarding him $22.4 million. The appellate ruling which overturned the jury verdict was based on what the judges said were incorrect jury instructions. Those errant instructions denied the deputy the opportunity to defend himself against charges of using excessive force.

The issue the jury was ruling on was very narrow, that being whether the deputy used excessive force in the alleged police shooting against Stephens. When the cyclist dismounted his bicycle, he walked backward toward the officer, according to the deputy. In a new trial, the deputy and the sheriff’s department will again face the task of justifying shooting an unarmed man in the back.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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