Members of a narcotics investigation squad for the police department in Dothan, Alabama planted drugs and weapons on young black men since the mid-1990s with the approval of their superiors — one of whom is currently the state’s Assistant Director of Homeland Security.
According to the Henry County Report, Andy Hughes was a sergeant in the department while overseeing the unit. But he was also a leader in a neo-Confederate group comprised by squad members, along fellow supervisor Steve Parrish. Parrish, at the time a lieutenant, is currently the city’s police chief.
Documents obtained by the Alabama Justice Project indicate that Parrish and Hughes are frequently mentioned in an internal affairs investigation. However, then-Police Chief John White and District Attorney Doug Valeska did not notify federal or state officials regarding the probe, as is required by department policy.
What we basically have here is white supremacists running the Dothan PD, planting evidence on black men to send them to prison, and getting promoted for it. One is now chief of the Dothan PD, the other is now the state's Assistant Director of Homeland Security. Internal affairs investigations were flat out covered up. The full story linked above is devastating as several officers have agreed to come forward to support a federal investigation.
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.
Members of the Henry County Report have spent weeks analyzing the documents. The originals, secured at an N.G.O. in Canada, are being shared directly with attorneys in the U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division, and are being made available to the lawyers of those falsely convicted that seek to clear their names.
And you are nuts if you think this is the only police department where this is going on. Loretta Lynch and the DoJ need to be all over this. A thousand wrongful convictions just in one Alabama city? What about the rest of the country?
It's insanity, and it proves once again that systematic racism is alive and well in America and has been for a very, very long time.