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Is the Decatur Police Department retaliating against protesters?

A weekend incident is the latest in a string of arrests that have been made against protesters since the death of Stephen Perkins.

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Over the weekend, a young woman was arrested in Decatur for “disorderly conduct” while protesting outside Mayor Tab Bowling’s home.

The incident is the latest in a string of arrests that have been made against protesters since the death of Stephen Perkins and many community members are alleging it is an intentional practice meant to stifle protests.

Stephen Perkins was killed on Sept. 29 after a Decatur Police officer shot Perkins multiple times outside his home. The officer, Mac Bailey Marquette, was charged with murder in December for Perkins’ death. Perkins’ killing outraged many members of the Decatur community  resulting in protests which have continued for close to five months. 

Alainah Dailey is the individual who was arrested on February 9 while protesting as part of the “Night Watch.” Dailey conducted a 4 minute Facebook Live video that depicted the few minutes leading up to her arrest.

While Dailey was arrested for the charge of disorderly conduct she is being held in jail until March 5 because of a probation violation for a prior youthful offender charge. Dailey is a college student and has two young children. 

DPD has demonstrated a pattern of arresting protesters and charging them with disorderly conduct like Dailey. A report by WAAY-31 from December noted that the arrest toll for protesters was steadily rising and includes statements from another individual arrested for disorderly conduct.

Terrence Baker said that he was peacefully protesting before being arrested in December for disorderly conduct. Baker felt as though DPD targeted him and was attempting to “shut up” protesters. Many community members have voiced concerns similar to Baker, that these arrests and broad charges of disorderly conduct are attempts to dissuade further protests.

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“Instead of the city officials helping us get this justice, helping us protest, they’re basically trying to shut us down, trying to shut us up, and we’re just fighting for justice,” Baker told WAAY-31. “You’re killing the people that are fighting for justice instead of giving us justice for the murder of Steve Perkins.”

APR contacted the Decatur Police Department and Bowling’s office for comment regarding Dailey’s arrest. Bowling’s office responded and said the mayor had no comment. As for DPD they have not responded as of this article’s publication.

A GoFundMe that was organized to help with Dailey’s legal fees has already surpassed it’s 2,000 goal. 

Patrick Darrington is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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