Rep. Juandalynn Givan (D–Jefferson) held a press conference Thursday discussing the accusations of police malpractice and corruption from the Brookside Police Department, in Jefferson County. She is calling on several city employees to resign.
According to Givan, the Brookside Police Department has engaged in a practice of over-ticketing, fabricating charges, and engaging in harassment and stalking of Brookside citizens. The claims come after a series of reports by al.com. Since the report was published, Brookside Police Chief Mike Jones resigned and Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth requested an audit of Brookside. Officials at Brookside City Hall confirmed to 1819 News Thursday that an audit the city requested by the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission (APOST) was underway.
Givan said Thursday that the actions of Brookside Police are “maleficence and miscarriage of justice.” She claimed the officers of the Brookside PD have engaged in “racial profiling” as well as the “harassment of women.”
According to Givan, people have complained about the officers in Brookside over the past two years, and have accused the department of physically relocating the signs that marked their jurisdiction to artificially enlarge the area in which they could give tickets.
“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.”
Among the claims offered by Givan is that the police in Brookside had been stalking and intimidating citizens and dishing out exorbitant fines and fees.
Givan called for the resignation of several Brookside city employees, including Mayor Mike Bryan, who has been mayor since Nov. 2021, several prosecutors, and the municipal court Judge, Jim Wooten.
Givan called for Attorney General Steve Marshall and the State Bar Association to investigate the issue. She also asked the U.S Justice Department to investigate any possible civil rights violations.
Jefferson County Sheriff Mark Pettway and Givan will be hosting a town hall meeting wherein residents of Brookside and surrounding areas can speak about their experiences with the Brookside PD. The event will be hosted on Tues, Feb. 1, at 6 p.m., at the Jefferson Co. Sheriff’s Office Training Center in Fultondale.
Givan stated that the fight against corruption in Brookside crosses political lines. She publicly thanked Ainsworth and Rep. Chris England for their efforts to investigate further the charges coming out of Brookside.
“This is not just about a Republican or a Democrat,” Givan said. "This is about right and wrong.”
House Leader 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.”
Rep. Andrew Sorrell (R Muscle Shoals), who is sponsoring a bill to make ticket quotas illegal for law enforcement, also supported the investigation.
”I am very, very pro-law enforcement.” Sorrell said. “But what’s happening in Brookside is just pure theft. There is just no other word for it.”
1819 News attempted to reach Brookside’s mayor at City Hall but he was unavailable and did not return a call. Town Clerk Debbie Keedy told 1819 News that there is another side to the story that has not been told. No other details were provided.
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