On January 23, 2008 Birmingham police officers attempted to stop and question one Anthony Shannon Warren about suspected drug activity. Warren fled in his car. Because interrogating people about suspected involvement in activities that harm no one is much more important than public safety, the officers decided that the best course of action was to endanger the lives of everyone else on the road by chasing after him. The chase ended with Warren slamming into a police cruiser, being ejected from his car, and knocked out. Five officers converged on his unconscious body and punched, kicked, and beat him with batons.
Warren would later plead guilty to first-degree assault because he nearly hit an officer with his vehicle during the chase. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
The officers who beat Warren would face no such punishment. First, the department attempted to cover up the beating by providing the DA’s officer with a dashcam video that had the beating edited out. When the video finally surfaced, the five officers were fired, but only two were ever criminally charged. They were eventually acquitted.
A few days ago, the Jefferson County Personnel Board, after a 10 minute hearing, ruled that the five officers must be reinstated. The attorney for Officer Thomas Cleveland indicated that he would seek back-pay for Cleveland.
So apparently if you’re a cop in Birmingham, not only will you not be punished for committing egregious violent crimes on completely defenseless people and attempting to cover them up, you will be given a chance to be rewarded with a nearly two year paid vacation at taxpayer expense. To top it off, you’ll be given the chance to whine to the media about how “people rushed to judge” you based on indisputable video evidence of your criminality. Where do I sign up?
If you appreciate my work, please consider sending a donation via PayPal.