Dontrell Stephens, paralyzed after being shot by a Palm Beach County Deputy eight years ago, died before spending his settlement.
According to WPBF, Dontrell’s attorney announced the young man died on Sunday in St. Lucie County from complications from his paralysis. The 28-year-old was in the hospital for three weeks before passing.
According to News One, Dontrell’s tragic story started when he was shot in 2013. Deputy Adams Lin tried to stop him for a traffic offense. Lin said he opened fire because he thought Stephens was reaching for a gun, but it was a cellphone.
Stephens spent the next few years in federal court after he sued The Palm Beach County Police. A jury awarded him a $22.4 million settlement. Still, Attorneys for Officer Lin filed an appeal, and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the guilty verdict– ordering a new trial for Lin.
Eventually, they agreed to pay Stephens $6 million. In June 2020, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a $6 million settlement for Stephens, which was awarded $4.5 million in a trust fund and $1.5 million towards outstanding unpaid medical bills.
Unfortunately, Dontrell was not able to spend a dime of his settlement money.
Ian Goldstein, the man’s attorney, said, “I’m devastated. I’ve gone through a lot with Dontrell and his family. It took a long time to get him in a place where he could actually have adequate medical care and take care of himself, and unfortunately, it came too little, too late.”
The 28-year-old man leaves behind two brothers.
“The family is distraught,” Goldstein said. “They’re very close. They’re all they have, and now Dontrell is gone.”
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office has yet to release a statement on Dontrell Stephens’ passing.
We are keeping Stephens’ family in our thoughts and prayers.