20-year-old unarmed black man paralyzed by Palm Beach County Deputy Sheriff still has not received full compensation from 2016 verdict
A Bill has been filed with Florida Legislators seeking compensation for Dontrell Stephens, now 25-years-old, as a result of his having been unlawfully shot 4 times by Palm Beach County Deputy Sheriff, Adams Lin. On the morning of September 13, 2013 Lin watched Stephens bicycle across Haverhill Road, talking to a friend on a cell phone. Lin followed Stephens in his patrol car and pulled him over with blue lights and siren, allegedly to cite him for a bicycling infraction. Lin testified that when he stopped Stephens, he saw him flash a dark object which he believed was a gun and Lin opened fire. The object was Stephens’ clearly visible cell phone. The last of Lin’s 4 shots struck Stephens in the back, severing his spinal cord and rendering him permanently paralyzed from the waist down. Video captured by a dashboard camera in Lin’s car, directly conflicted with Lin’s claim of self-defense.
A Federal jury verdict was rendered for Stephens on February 3, 2016 which together with interest totals $25,421,172.13. $200,000.00 representing the statutory cap on damages payable by the Sheriff’s Office without legislative approval has been paid by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. Stephens’ medical bills exceed $1 million and continued inadequate care due to inability to pay is life-threatening.
Uncontradicted evidence presented at trial established that the cost of Stephens’ future care alone will exceed $14.5 million.
Jack Scarola of Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley is continuing the fight to right these wrongs and to bring justice to Stephens for his severe and permanent injuries as a result of this completely unjustified shooting.