A bill making it a misdemeanor crime to misrepresent a police jurisdiction has passed the Alabama Legislature.
House Bill 315 (HB315), sponsored by State Rep. Juandalynn Givan (D-Birmingham), comes in response to the alleged police misconduct by the Brookside Police Department.
The Brookside Police Department (BPD) has been accused of setting up speed traps, over-policing, malpractice, corruption, fabricating charges and harassment by hundreds of its citizens.
In February, Givan and the Jefferson County Sheriff's office held a town hall discussion over the accusations. Over 150 people showed up at the sheriff’s office’s training center in Fultondale for the meeting.
Among the charges listed against the BPD, Givan claimed that the BPD moved signage that dictated the lawful police jurisdiction of the city of Brookside to increase the scope of their ticketing abilities.
“They physically moved the signs,” Givan said. “They took it upon themselves to create their own boundary lines, their own rules, their own regulations. Therefore, they are in violation of the law. Therefore, they did something that they knew was utter maleficence.
“They should not have been giving tickets to these individual citizens. Those funds and tickets that would have been given should have been given by the sheriff’s department if, in fact, the citizens were in violation of the law. Therefore, those funds should have gone to the Jefferson County coffers and not the city of Brookside.”
Givan further claimed that the police in Brookside stalked and intimated citizens in addition to dishing out exorbitant fines and fees.
House Speaker Mac McCutcheon, a former police officer, said he supported Givan’s investigation.
“I’m glad that Rep. Givan is looking into this,” McCutcheon said. “All I know is what I read in the news. I have not spoken with anybody in the city government there at Brookside. I have not spoken with any of the law enforcement people.”
Although Brookside was the inspiration behind this legislation, the law will apply statewide. Moving jurisdictional signage would only become a crime, per this legislation, if the person has knowledge of the actual boundaries.
HB315 will now go to Gov. Kay Ivey (R) for her consideration.
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