Yesterday, April 26, 2015, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw appeared on “To The Point with Michael Williams” to defend Deputy Adams Lin for shooting Dontrell Stephens in 2013. Video of the shooting became public last week as Stephens is suing the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office after being paralyzed as a result of the shooting.
“It’s the citizens duty to submit to our authority,” according to Sheriff Ric Bradshaw. The dashcam video shows Stephens riding on a bicycle while talking on a cellular phone. In his police cruiser, Deputy Lin rapidly approached Stephens, seemingly ready to hit the bicycle, and Stephens jumps off the bicycle with the cell phone in hand – clearly scared for his life. There are four seconds when Lin and Stephens are off camera; however, Stephens runs away, posing no threat to Lin when shots are fired into Stephens’ back. Yet, Sheriff Bradshaw quickly came to Lin’s defense at the time of the shooting and again yesterday on WPTV.
WPTV and the Palm Beach Post did a thorough investigation in how quickly Sheriff Bradshaw comes to the defense of his deputies, even before an official investigation has been completed. The investigation found Palm Beach County Sheriff deputies seem trigger happy and always claim to be in fear for their own lives. Since 2000, deputies have shot 114 people in Palm Beach County. The WPTV investigation found numerous inconsistencies in statements made by Bradshaw after shootings which could easily lead one to believe there have been widespread corruption at the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office to protect deputies. WPTV seems to be going an about face from their reporting of the Stephens shooting in 2013 as they slanted their reporting in favor of Bradshaw and seemed more interested in discrediting Stephens.
Dontrell Stephens’ attorney has shown that Lin fabricated evidence, a fact that was ignored by the State Attorney’s Office and the Sheriff’s internal affairs office. Lin’s internal affairs file “contains numerous use of force reports, citizen complaints and incident reviews,” according to the Dontrell Stephens lawsuit.
Earlier this month, Palm Beach County Deputy William Wheeler was indicted by the Department of Justice. A Grand Jury found that Wheeler used excessive force and filed false police reports. The indictment was never mentioned during yesterday’s WPTV interview with Bradshaw.
During yesterday’s interview, Bradshaw said, “I’m not influencing anything because they [investigators] are the ones giving me the information. And furthermore, what I am telling people there [at the crime scene for reporters], is a conclusion based on what I know.” Michael Williams asked Bradshaw if the investigators are jumping to conclusions at the crime scene. Bradshaw responded, “I don’t think they are jumping to conclusions because they are gathering relevant facts.” Then Bradshaw goes off on a fear tangent stating, “We could end up with a thing like Ferguson. You know why Ferguson got carried away to start with? Is because it looked like there was a shroud of secrecy.”
The highly controversial 2012 killing of Seth Adams came up in yesterday’s interview. Adams was unarmed and came upon an undercover deputy on his family’s private property, the A One Stop Garden Shop. A quick, but heated conversation ensued resulting in Adams’ being shot by Deputy Bradshaw said yesterday, “We feel very confident that we will prevail in federal court.” Bradshaw is referring to a case brought by Adams’ family against the Sheriff. Adams’ nursery had a large Ron Paul sign on their property and some suspect that being a contributing factor for the undercover deputy being on the property.
A former deputy curates a website critical of Bradshaw’s reign as sheriff. One of the biggest postings on the website is a call for an independent investigation into the murder of Seth Adams.
Bradshaw is no lover of individual liberty or libertarians for that matter. After the Sandy Hook tragedy, Bradshaw advocated for further infringement on the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This is contrary to Bradshaw’s Oath of Office to defend the U.S. Constitution.
Bradshaw is running for re-election in 2016. He will face Alexander Freeman, Samuel Thompson and any others that may throw their hat in the ring during June 2016 qualifying period. The election will be held in November 2016.