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Sep. 13, 2013 — West Palm Beach

Dontrell Stephens, 20, was riding a bicycle across Haverhill Road, against traffic, talking on his cell phone.

He was spotted by Palm Beach County Deputy Adams Lin, who followed him. Lin said that he planned on giving Stephens a citation but also was suspicious because he didn't recognize him as being local. He thought Stephens was trying to ditch him and turned on his lights. Stephens stopped and got off the bike. Deputy Lin said that Stephens disobeyed orders to raise his hands and instead reached behind him, as if for a gun.

Lin fired four times, wounding Stephens. No weapon was found. Read more

Lin later said that he mistook the cell phone for a weapon. Drug charges against Stephens were dropped.

Stephens, paralyzed from the waist down, sued the Sheriff's Office and Lin. A federal jury awarded him $22.4 million in February 2016. The sheriff is appealing.

Stephens was arrested in October 2016 on drug charges that including selling heroin and cocaine. He was released to a rehabilitation facility because of his extensive medical needs.

In January 2017, Stephens' attorney had Deputy Lin's possessions seized as payment toward Stephens' expenses.

This was the 95th police shooting in Florida in 2013.

Six days earlier, six officers shot one person in St. Petersburg .

Five days later, one officer shot one person in Winter Garden .

6 ways this case compares to others

  1. Officer approached Stephens after he was suspected of committing a minor crime. That’s true in 1 of every 12 cases.
  2. Police thought Stephens, who was unarmed, was reaching for a weapon before shooting him. Thirty-eight unarmed people were shot when police said they saw them reach for something.
  3. Stephens was one of 36 people shot in the back by police.
  4. Officer was chasing Stephens on foot before shooting him. Officers shot 105 people during foot pursuits.
  5. A civil lawsuit was filed in response to Stephens's shooting. Ninety other cases led to lawsuits.
  6. This shooting came after an officer pulled over Stephens for a traffic violation. Seventy-seven cases began with a traffic stop.

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