Tuesday, The Guardian revealed that an officer in Alabama was caught on a recording plotting to kill a black man whom he was frustrated with. In the audio, he also suggested creating bogus evidence to imply the murder was in self-defense.
After the incriminating clip was played to police chiefs and the mayor, officer Troy Middlebrooks, 33, was not removed from his post.
Instead, the former U.S marine was allowed to keep his job patrolling Alexander City while authorities paid Vincent Bias, the resident who was targeted, $35,000 to avoid public backlash and litigation.
You can hear the audio of the recording below: (*Contains strong language*)
“This town is ridiculous,” Bias, 49, said in an interview. “The police here feel they can do what they want, and often they do.”
Despite allegations of leniency, police chief Willie Robinson maintains that when Middlebrooks said Bias “needs a goddamn bullet,” while calling him racial slurs, “He was just talking. He didn’t really mean that.”
The threatening comments were made to Bias’s brother-in-law during a May 2013 encounter at his home, which Bias was visiting.
According to the report,
The officer remarked to Bias’s brother-in-law, who is white, that he was tired of “that n—r” being released from jail.
Middlebrooks had arrested Bias on drug charges earlier in the year and Bias had been released on bail after paying a bond, according to Bias and his attorneys.
Middlebrooks expressed his frustration. “Something’s going on with that f***ing lawyer he knows, and that f***ing … the judge or something,” he was recorded saying.
Middlebrooks allegedly said “the police were going to pull [Bias] aside on a routine traffic stop and [Bias] would get killed”…..this prompted the brother-in-law to retrieve a voice recorder that Bias had been carrying around with him in an attempt to monitor alleged harassment by police, and then return to the conversation with the officer.
On the recording, the officer is also heard trying to pit the brother-in-law against Bias, suggesting if he were in his family he would “f—ing kill that motherf—er with whatever I had in that f—ing house”.
“And before the police got here, I’d f—ing put marks all over my sh-t and make it look like he was trying to f—ing kill me. I god damn guarantee you,” Middlebrooks continued. “What would it look like? Self f—ing defense. F– that piece of s–t. I’m a lot different from a lot of these other folks. I’ll f–ing tell you what’s on my f—ing mind.”
Police chief Robinson insists the officer “was disciplined” after the recording surfaced. “I don’t care if you’ve got a record or not; we’re gonna treat you just as fair,” he said. “And I expect my people to do that, and if they don’t they have to deal with me.”
Eric Hutchins, an attorney for Bias — who also represents the Alabama branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) — said the officer’s remarks were not only “unprofessional and inappropriate” but also “requires an immediate investigation” by state officials.
City Councillor Tony Goss said he was “absolutely flabbergasted” to learn the details of the case and the settlement made to the alleged victim.
“This is absolutely unbelievable,” opined Goss. “If an officer is recorded saying something like that, there are potential grounds for termination.”