On August 29, 28-year-old Dontrell Stephens, who was shot by police and left paralyzed in September of 2013, died due to complications from paralysis. His family is distraught by his passing.
According to WPBF, Ian Goldstein, an attorney who assisted in getting multiple charges against him dropped after the 2013 shooting, said, “The family is distraught. They’re very close. They’re all they have and now Dontrell is gone.”
Stephens leaves behind two brothers.
Goldstein also added, “I’m devastated. I’ve gone through a lot with Dontrell and his family. It took a long time to get him in a place where he could actually have adequate medical care and take care of himself and unfortunately it came too little, too late.”
He continued, “The thing that always impressed me about Dontrell is that he was always happy. He always had a smile on his face. He never felt bad for himself. He took everything in stride. I was really impressed with the way he handled the situation.”
According to The Palm Beach Post, Stephens died due to complications from paralysis.
On Sept. 13, 2013, Dontrell Stephens was riding his bicycle when a police officer’s car was following him. The dash cam video, obtained by The Palm Beach Post, showed the police car pull him over. Stephens got off his bike and walked toward the deputy. Seconds later, the deputy shot Stephens four times. Stephens could be seen running away as he was struck by the bullets. Stephens, 20 at the time, was carrying a cellphone and was unarmed.
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According to WPTV, county Sheriff Ric Bradshaw defended the deputy’s actions during a press conference at the time.
“Stop what you’re doing and comply with us,” he told reporters. “There’s nothing in the rules of engagement that says we have to put our lives in jeopardy to wait to find out what this is to get killed.”
Jack Scarola, another one of Stephens’ attorneys, maintained the deputy’s account of the incident conflicts with what is shown in the video. “There are no records of any commands ever made to Dontrell Stephens,” explained Scarola, acording to WPTV.
“The deputy’s recorded statements following the shooting were absolutely false. Internal affairs completely ignored that evidence,” he also said.
While Stephens was still hospitalized,prosecutors charged Dontrell Stephens with cocaine possession and failing to obey a police officer.
Ian Goldstein said at the time, “I absolutely believe this is a vindictive prosecution, that they’re only doing this … to justify what the officer did. It’s a disturbing case. This is probably the worst I’ve ever seen.”
In June of 2020, Stephens eventually received a settlement for $6 million. Nearly $1 million of his settlement went to outstanding medical bills, WPTV reports.
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office has yet to release a statement on the passing of Dontrell Stephens.