06 August 2015

What Does a Cop Have to Do to Get Fired?

A police officer in Alabama proposed murdering a black resident and creating bogus evidence to suggest the killing was in self-defence, the Guardian has learned.

Officer Troy Middlebrooks kept his job and continues to patrol Alexander City after authorities there paid the man $35,000 to avoid being publicly sued over the incident. Middlebrooks, a veteran of the US marines, said the man “needs a god damn bullet” and allegedly referred to him as “that nigger”, after becoming frustrated that the man was not punished more harshly over a prior run-in.

The payment was made to the black resident, Vincent Bias, after a secret recording of Middlebrooks’s remarks was played to the city’s police chiefs and the mayor. Elected city councillors said they were not consulted. A copy of the recording was obtained by the Guardian.


“This town is ridiculous,” Bias, 49, said in an interview. “The police here feel they can do what they want, and often they do.” Alexander City police chief Willie Robinson defended Middlebrooks. “He was just talking. He didn’t really mean that,” he said in an interview.


Middlebrooks, 33, made the threatening comments to Bias’s brother-in-law during a May 2013 encounter at his home, which Bias was visiting. Police came to the home after they discovered an unleashed dog.

A lawsuit from Bias that the city paid to settle before it reached court stated that while Bias remained inside the house and out of earshot, the officer remarked to Bias’s brother-in-law, who is white, that he was tired of “that nigger” being released from jail.


The officer did say he had been cleared by a state inquiry into the incident and referred the Guardian to the state bureau of investigation (SBI) and Larkin Radney, the city attorney for Alexander City. A spokesman for the SBI, however, said: “We have no record of us investigating this case.” Radney said: “I really don’t know what he’s talking about.”

During the interview at his office, Robinson said Middlebrooks “was disciplined” when the recording came to light, but declined to elaborate. Asked if the officer was ever suspended from patrols, Robinson repeated: “He got disciplined.” When it was put to him that some agencies might have terminated the officer’s job, the police chief said: “I don’t know what other departments do, but I made that call, and I’m going to live with that.”

Robinson tried to stress that Middlebrooks was in fact proposing that the brother-in-law carry out the killing. “He wasn’t saying that he was going to do that,” said the police chief. “He was talking about the man doing it himself.”
So a criminal conspiracy to commit murder under the color of law is not a grounds to fire this thug?


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