Dontrell Stephens Relief: SB 4 UPDATE:
After being temporarily postponed, SB4, the Dontrell Stephens Claim Bill is reaching a critical stage. It's back on Senate Judiciary Committee calendar for 2/19/2020 @ 1:30. This is from his Atty. "Legislators have encouraged both sides to come to an agreement on a number they both live with. Liens for past services rendered to Dontrell are $3 million. His future care for the remainder of his life will cost $5 million (reduced to present dollar value). Unpaid costs to prosecute the case on his behalf exceed $300,000). That totals $8.3 million without any consideration for 6 and 1/2 years of legal services and- more significantly- not a single penny of compensation for a lifetime imprisoned in a wheelchair with no bowel or bladder control and complete loss of sexual function.
The jury that considered the evidence of these circumstances returned a verdict of over $22 million. While we have agreed to compromise our claim for half that number, the Sheriff has stubbornly refused to offer more than $3 million and is defending the Claim Bill before the legislature on the basis of the same lies decisively rejected by the jury.
The presentations made on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office before both the House and Senate Committees have included very significant false statements. The following are direct quotes from Jason Unger who spoke for the Sheriff at the last committee meeting.
“ Deputy Sheriff Linn told him to raise his hands. He did not do so… He did not put his hands up.“ The shooting is portrayed as a “tragic mistake”.
The sworn testimony of Linn presented at trial proves these statements are lies. Linn admits Dontrell followed each of his commands including his command to raise his hands. The location of the bullet wound in his arm proves that Dontrell’s arm was raised when he was shot. The photographic and X-ray evidence proves beyond any doubt that Dontrell was shot in the back.
Despite this and the unimpeachable, objective evidence of Linn’s actions on the dashcam video, Linn does not testify he made a mistake. He tells us under oath that he would do the same thing again, even knowing all the facts and knowing the tragic outcome.
No “vial of crack cocaine” was found in Dontrell’s waistband and no one ever said it was. Long after the shooting a small envelope of cocaine was allegedly found on the ground in the vicinity where the shooting occurred. DNA testing was conducted on the envelope and it could not be linked to Dontrell. Dontrell swore under oath it was not his. No drug charges were ever filed against him relating the the possession of any drugs when he was shot.
The SO cannot be allowed to get away with blatantly lying to the legislature.
Anything you can do to bring these circumstances to the attention of the legislators is certain to help. Dontrell’s survival is at stake."
Call and email members of Senate Judiciary Committee as well as President Galvano thanking them for getting the bill this far. Need legislators to keep pressure on PBSO to put forth an offer of a large portion of the $22.4M Dontrell was awarded by the courts and settle this in Tally this session!
Please call the Senate Judiciary to urge them to vote YES in their committee meeting at 1:30 pm on Wednesday Feb 19.
Call List Here:
Senator David Simmons (R) Chair 850-487-5009
Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez (D) Vice Chair 850-487-5037
Senator Dennis Baxley (R) 850-487-5012
Senator Audrey Gibson (D) 850-487-5006
Senator Travis Hutson (R) 850-487-5007
Senator Kelli Stargel (R) 850-487-5002