The One Story: HBCUs And The Gatekeeping Of Black Culture
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A 2013 case involving an Alabama police officer spewing racial slurs and threatening to kill a Black man and hide the evidence was uncovered this week, The Guardian reports.

Alexander City Officer Troy Middlebrooks had his first encounter with Vincent Bias in early 2013, when Bias was jailed on drug charges. The two crossed paths again in May, when Middlebrooks came to the home of Bias’s brother-in-law (who is White) regarding complaints about an unleashed dog. After speaking with Bias’ brother-in-law, the officer reportedly became angry the family had bailed Bias out of jail earlier that year.

Middlebrooks launched into a racist-fueled rant, saying Bias’ family should stay away from him, and if it were up to the officer, he would shoot him and cover up the crime.

The recording was obtained by The Guardian, which you can hear below:

“And before the police got here, I’d fucking put marks all over my shit and make it look like he was trying to fucking kill me. I god damn guarantee you,” Middlebrooks said. “What would it look like? Self fucking defense. Fuck that piece of shit. I’m a lot different from a lot of these other folks. I’ll fucking tell you what’s on my fucking mind….That motherfucker right there needs a god damn bullet,” he said. “And you fucking know exactly what I’m talking about. The way he fucking talks to you? Like you’re a fucking child? Like he’s your … Are you his bitch or something? He talks to you like that.”

Bias took the recording to his lawyers and threatened to sue Alexander City and its police department for $600,000. The case was quietly settled out of court for $35,000, but meanwhile, his drug charges were revisited. Bias served 14 months in a county jail and was released in May.

But he said that after the recording surfaced, and he threatened a lawsuit, the police added to the drug charges against him until he felt he had no choice but to plead guilty. “They forced my hand,” he said.

Bias said he was forced to use the money to move due to the town’s overt racism.

“This town is ridiculous,” Bias, 49, said in an interview. “The police here feel they can do what they want, and often they do.”

However, the Alexander City police chief, who is Black, disagrees with Bias’ outlook. Willie Robinson told reporters Middlebrooks was punished, but allowed to keep his job because he was speaking hypothetically.

“He was just talking. He didn’t really mean that,” he said. “I don’t know what other departments do, but I made that call, and I’m going to live with that. He wasn’t saying that he was going to do that,” said the police chief. “He was talking about the man doing it himself.”

At the time of the incident, Middlebrooks worked for the department’s crime interdiction task force. The 33-year-old served in the Marines before deciding to become a police officer. He was often praised for reducing property crime.



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