A May 2013 incident has been settled out of court after a secret recording caught an Alabama police officer discussing how to murder a man and cover it up using fake evidence to make it look like the killing was in self-defense.
First obtained by the Guardian last week, the audio captures the encounter between Alexander City police officer Troy Middlebrooks and the brother-in-law of Vincent Bias. Bias had been arrested by the officer on drug charges some weeks prior.
Middlebrooks appears to be frustrated that Bias had made bail, and relates what he would like to do to the man. Bias was out of ear-shot in a home nearby.
“Between me and you, if that mother fucker fucked with me, I’m telling you right now.” the officer says. “I would fucking kill that mother fucker… and before police got here, I would put marks all over my shit and make it look like he was trying to fucking kill me… self-fucking-defense. Fuck that piece of shit.”
Middlebrooks adds, “that mother fucker right there needs a god damn bullet.”
A month after that incident, Bias’ sued the city for $600,000 as part of a harassment suit that additionally maintained that Middlebrooks made racial slurs and told his brother-in-law that he was tired of “that nigger” being released from jail.
Bias agreed to settle for $35,000, Alexander City’s attorney Larkin Radney said. As part of the settlement Middlebrooks, a US marine veteran, will keep his job.
Police Chief Willie Robinson defended Middlebrooks, saying, “He was just talking. He didn’t really mean that. It’s a whole lot different if you hear both sides.”
The police chief, who opposed the settlement, said Middlebrooks “was disciplined” but provided no further details.
“He got disciplined.” Robinson said. “I don’t know what other departments do, but I made that call, and I’m going to live with that.”
Bias claims that after he threatened the lawsuit, police charged him with additional drug “crimes,” compelling him to feel he had no other choice but to take a plea agreement. He served 14 months in a county jail.