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Wife of Steve Perkins arrested during peaceful protest in Decatur

Catrela Perkins was arrested and later released during the latest ugly incident between DPD and citizens.

Stephen Perkins, left, and Catrela Perkins, right. GoFundMe/Family
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The wife of Steve Perkins, who was shot and killed by Decatur Police last year, was one of three people arrested during a peaceful protest march in Decatur on Friday. 

Video of the incident posted on social media shows that Catrela Perkins was handcuffed and detained for several minutes by Decatur police before ultimately being released. 

“Wow, DPD killed my husband as if that wasn’t enough now they are harassing me! Put me in handcuffs in front of my 8 year old daughter for NO REASON!” Catrela Perkins posted on social media. 

Also arrested was Derek Taylor, whose wife, Sierra, has claimed she was beaten by police earlier this year during a protest outside of the home of Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling. 

A lengthy video of the arrests and actions that led up to it was posted by several people, and Facebook groups devoted to activism in response to the Steve Perkins shooting by police. A former Decatur Police officer, Bailey Marquette, has been arrested on murder charges for shooting Steve Perkins in his front yard. 

The video of Friday’s incident show a peaceful march through the streets during Decatur’s usual “Third Friday” event, in which city streets downtown are closed for food trucks, music and vendors. The marchers walked and chanted at times, and most onlookers responded to them positively, with waves and some applause. 

At one point, the marchers stopped and chanted for just over 30 seconds, and then began to move again. At that point, DPD Lt. Joe Renshaw approached the group and asked who was in charge. He also told them that they were about to be arrested for “disorderly conduct” and that there would be no warnings. 

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The marchers initially asked Renshaw how they were being disorderly, but then quickly agreed to simply move on. Despite their compliance, Renshaw could be seen on video approaching Morgan County NAACP President Rodney Gordon and saying quietly, “I’m going to arrest you, first and foremost, because you seem to be the main instigator.” Gordon seemed surprised, but before he could respond other marchers intervened and pulled Gordon away from Renshaw. 

Taylor, who was wearing a mask, could be heard telling Renshaw to “go find you a problem somewhere else,” because the marchers were compliant and moving on. Renshaw told Taylor to remove his mask. When Taylor at first refused, officers arrested him as Renshaw held a Taser to his chest. 

As officers began dragging Taylor away, Catrela Perkins approached them to ask what was happening. A brief exchange occurred, and Catrela was placed in handcuffs. 

During the incident, Decatur Police chief Todd Pinion arrived on the scene and appeared to be working to calm his officers. He ordered officers to stop dragging Taylor and then escorted Catrela away from onlookers. He later released her. 

Steve Perkins was killed by Marquette after DPD officers hid around Perkins’ home in the dead of night and surprised Perkins as he came out to stop a tow truck driver from taking his truck. Marquette shot Perkins multiple times, and DPD officials later released a statement claiming Perkins was ordered to drop his firearm before being shot. Security camera video shows that Perkins was surprised by the officers, who sprang out from behind his house, and was never given an opportunity to comply with instructions before being gunned down.

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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Marquette was arrested by the Morgan County Sheriff's Office and booked into the Morgan County Jail with a $30,000 bond.