A newly released video shows a US police officer shot and paralyzed an unarmed African American man in Florida two year ago, after mistaking his cell phone for a gun.
The footage from the Sept. 13, 2013 incident shows Dontrell Stephens was riding his bike through a South Florida neighborhood when he noticed he was being followed by a Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputy, Adams Lin.
The video, obtained by local station WPTV, released on Thursday as part of a federal suit appears to show Lin shoot Stephens four times just seconds after getting out of his vehicle and confronting him.
In the lawsuit filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, attorney Jack Scarola wrote there was no reason to stop Stephens as he was simply talking on his cell phone while riding his bike.
“Not only was Stephens’ stop without cause, his arrest was secured with excessive force,” Scarola wrote.
Stephens was trying to comply with the officer’s orders to put his arms in the air when he was shot in the left hand, twice in the elbow and once in the chest, according to the lawsuit.
At the time of incident, the officer claimed that he had gotten out of his car and demanded Stephens to get on the ground. Lin said when Stephens took a step towards him, he fired shots thinking the cell phone in Stephens’ hand was a weapon.
The shooting left Stephens paralyzed from the waist down, but the officer was cleared to return to work four days after the incident.