[See update below] The corruption reported in this news release is so vile it's hard to know where to begin. The Alabama Justice Project reported that it has documents revealing that a district attorney in Alabama covered up a Dothan police department internal investigation that found that a "group of up to a dozen police officers on a specialized narcotics team were found to have planted drugs and weapons on [nearly a thousand] young black men" since the mid-1990s.
Some of these wrongly-convicted men are still in prison.
The Alabama Justice Project says the police officers who reportedly planted the drugs and guns are part of a Neoconfederate organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center labels “racial extremists.”
The leaders of the narcotics team, Steve Parrish and Andy Hughes, currently have high ranking positions in Alabama law enforcement. Parrish is the Dothan Police Chief and Hughes is the Asst. Director of Homeland Security for the State of Alabama. Both men are pictured above at a Sons of Confederate Veterans meeting with other narcotics officers. The district attorney is still in office.
From Henry County Report:
The documents shared reveal that the internal affairs investigation was covered up to protect the aforementioned officers’ law enforcement careers and keep them from being criminally prosecuted.
Several long term Dothan law enforcement officers, all part of an original group that initiated the investigation, believe the public has a right to know that the Dothan Police Department, and District Attorney Doug Valeska, targeted young black men by planting drugs and weapons on them over a decade. Most of the young men were prosecuted, many sentenced to prison, and some are still in prison. Many of the officers involved were subsequently promoted and are in leadership positions in law enforcement. They hope the mood of the country is one that demands action and that the US Department of Justice will intervene.
The group of officers requested they be granted anonymity, and shared hundreds of files from the Internal Affairs Division. They reveal a pattern of criminal behavior from within the highest levels of the Dothan Police Department and the district attorney’s office in the 20th Judicial District of Alabama. Multiple current and former officers have agreed to testify if United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch appoints a special prosecutor from outside the state of Alabama, or before a Congressional hearing. The officers believe that there are currently nearly a thousand wrongful convictions resulting in felonies from the 20th Judicial District that are tied to planted drugs and weapons and question whether a system that allows this can be allowed to continue to operate.
UPDATE: Dothan Police Chief Steve Parrish issued the following statement via Facebook:
"In today’s social media driven society, many individuals take what they read on the internet as factual. While I am not in the habit of responding to misinformation published online by bloggers, accusations made concerning the credibility of the men and women of this agency shall not go unanswered.
An attempt has been made to not only discredit me, but the Dothan Police Department; the 20th Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office; and past employees of this agency by accusing members of this agency of criminal activity and others of covering up such activity. While the photo-copies of the documents posted online from Mr. Carrol appear to be authentic in nature they are arranged and redacted in a way to promote his agenda. The specific incident he is illustrating involving a former officer was addressed and handled in accordance with applicable laws and department policy when it occurred back in the late 1990’s. The officer involved in his illustration has not worked at this department since that time. It is also important to note that the accusations against the officer were for the improper storage of evidence and not the “planting of evidence.” To my knowledge, there had never been a single complaint filed against that officer during his entire career for the planting evidence on anyone. There are simply too many outright lies and fabrications in the blog to address individually but his “opinion” has apparently been taken by many as “fact”.
The members of this department are proud and loyal servants to our citizens and guests. We strive continually for excellence and are among only 5% of police departments who are nationally accredited through CALEA. We maintain our stance on transparency and our doors are open to any Law Enforcement entity tasked with investigating claims of impropriety. We welcome the Department of Justice; the US Attorney’s Office, State Attorney General’s Office or any independent appointee by such an agency to investigate any allegations brought fourth concerning this agency.
I would also like Mr. Carrol to put his money where his mouth is and provide any evidence he has that police officers have planted evidence on anyone in the past 30 years."