Here’s a rare but important situation. A police officer in Alabama, likely at great risk to himself, testified at the trial of another officer that he and other officers lied to help cover up a case of totally unprovoked brutality by the cop on trial.
An Alabama police officer broke down at the federal trial of a fellow cop, admitting that he lied to internal affairs investigators twice, lied to an FBI agent and lied to a federal grand jury when he was questioned about his colleague brutally beating a handcuffed man and keeping his property as “trophies.”
Joshua Bates, an eight year veteran of the Huntsville Police Department, testified Tuesday that he lied to cover for fellow officer Brett Russell out of fear of losing his job, but admitted that the incident has haunted him ever since.
The incident took place on December 23, 2011 after Russell responded to a domestic violence call at the home of Gary Wayne Hopkins. Bates, who was training a cadet at the time, was called to the scene to assist Russell with putting leg shackles on the suspect.
Once Hopkins was in custody, the dashcam footage showed Russell punching and kicking the suspect, ordering him to “stop resisting,” despite the fact that he was restrained.
Hopkins was so badly injured that the jail refused to take him until he was treated at a hospital.
Following the incident, the officers on the scene reported that Hopkins was combative and defended Russell’s actions. A few days before testifying, Bates contacted the U.S. Attorney prosecuting the case and agreed to tell the truth about what really happened that night in exchange for immunity.
This is a daily occurrence in our police departments all over the country. Everyone knows it. The good cops know it, see it, but feel they can’t stop it because they’ll face threats not only to their job but to their safety. I have interviewed cops who have told me this directly, anonymously of course. They say they know that their are officers who are corrupt and abusive in their departments, but they can’t say anything because they literally fear for their lives and their families if they squeal.