An Alabama police officer reportedly suggested killing a black resident and then covering up the incident as self-defense, The Guardian has uncovered.
Alexander City Police Officer Troy Middlebrooks was apparently “disciplined” after making the statements in May 2013 but kept his job and still goes out on patrols in the neighborhood. According to the report, the resident about whom the comments were made was paid $35,000 in an attempt by authorities to avoid a public lawsuit.
The payment was made to Vincent Bias, who is black, after a recording of Middlebrooks’ comments was played to the city’s police chief and the mayor, The Guardian notes.
In the recording, Middlebrooks referred to Bias as “that n—ger” who “needs a goddamn bullet.”
“This town is ridiculous,” Bias, 49, told The Guardian. “The police here feel they can do what they want, and often they do.”
Middlebrooks, a 33-year-old veteran of the U.S. Marines, reportedly made the threats to Bias’ brother-in-law during a stop at his home, which Bias was visiting. Police were at the home because of an unleashed dog.
Although Bias was inside the house and couldn’t hear, Middlebrooks reportedly complained to Bias’ brother-in-law, who is white, that he was tired of “that n—ger” getting out of jail. It was reportedly not Middlebrooks and Bias’ first encounter, since Middlebrooks had arrested Bias on drug charges earlier that year; Bias was later released on bail.
“Something’s going on with that f—king lawyer he knows, and that f—king … the judge or something,” Middlebrooks was heard on a recording telling the brother-in-law.
What prompted the brother-in-law to record Middlebrooks was the officer’s alleged statement, “The police were going to pull [Bias] aside on a routine traffic stop and [Bias] would get killed.” The brother-in-law got a voice recorder that Bias had been carrying around with him, reportedly to get evidence of harassment by police. The brother-in-law then continued the conversation with Middlebrooks.
On the recording, The Guardian notes, Middlebrooks accused Bias of being threatening to his own relatives. The officer said that if it were he, he would “f—king kill that motherf—ker with whatever I had in the f—king house.
“And before the police got here, I’d f—king put marks all over my s—t and make it look like he was trying to f—king kill me. I goddamn guarantee you,” he continued. “What would it look like? Self-f—king defense. F—k that piece of s—t. I’m a lot different from a lot of these other folks. I’ll f—king tell you what’s on my f—king mind.
“That mother—ker right there needs a goddamn bullet,” Middlebrooks went on unrelentingly, trying to goad the brother-in-law. “And you f—king know exactly what I’m talking about. The way he f—king talks to you? Like you’re a f—king child? Like he’s your … are you his bitch or something? He talks to you like that.”
Alexander City Police Chief Willie Robinson has defended Middlebrooks, claiming, “He was just talking. He really didn’t mean that,” according to The Guardian. Robinson insisted that Middlebrooks was “disciplined” but refused to go into detail about how.
Robinson also said that Middlebrooks was telling the brother-in-law to carry out the planned murder. “He wasn’t saying that he was going to do that,” the police chief told The Guardian. “He was talking about the man doing it himself.”
Bias was given a citation for the illegally unleashed dog, even though the dog belonged to his brother-in-law, which the police were reportedly told. He was also told by an officer that he would be fined for an illegal electrical connection that was found on the property, for which Bias also insisted that he was not responsible.
Bias, who has spent some time in prison, says he has been singled out because he is black and because he was in a relationship with a white woman. The 49-year-old complained that for approximately two years he’s been met with an “exorbitant number of traffic tickets, citations and concocted city code violations.”
Read more at The Guardian.