While this story sounds like it might have come from the early or even mid-20th century, it takes place now and it started in the post-internet era. A newly released report shows that Alabama’s Director of Homeland Security also led a neo-confederate group and he oversaw a police department and narcotics team that regularly planted drugs and guns on innocent black men.
The supervisors were Sgt. Andy Hughes, who is now at Alabama Homeland Security and current Dothan Police Chief, Steve Parrish. Every one of the officers under fire is part of a group that’s labeled as “racial extremists” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. As reported in the Henry County Report:
The group has advocated for blacks to return to Africa, published that the civil rights movement is really a Jewish conspiracy, and that blacks have lower IQ’s . Both Parrish and Hughes held leadership positions in the group and are pictured above holding a confederate battle flag at one of the club’s secret meetings.
Oh, but it gets worse – much, much worse.
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.
It’s estimated that there are nearly 1,000 wrongful convictions since 1996, as a result of these racist tactics. It’s not like Hollywood, where cops might plant drugs or weapons to get a conviction for a guilty person. No, many of these people were innocent and had clean records.
Some officers did complain:
But the complaints were never part of the discovery process in any of the black men’s trials. During the investigation, the officers even failed polygraph tests.
All the black men were tried by the same District Attorney, Doug Valeska. In fact, Valeska went so far as to intervene with the internal affairs investigations.
The most tragic thing of all is that every single man involved in the scandal has been promoted to higher law enforcement jobs. Many are now asking for Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate.
Featured image via Flickr.