A newly unearthed set of documents reveals how the Dothan, Alabama, police department has established a lengthy history of planting drugs and guns on young black men to secure felony convictions. The implications of this story surround “over a thousand” false arrests (dating back decades), many of which resulted in wrongful convictions. An unknown number of these men remain in prison.
The documents in question were obtained by the Henry County Report, which digs deep into the history of an Internal Affairs investigation that was shut down by the district attorney and former Police Chief John White. The investigation surrounded a group of officers, including Lt. Steve Parrish and Sgt. Andy Hughes, and their actions in the 1990s. Both men have risen in rank, with Parrish now Dothan police chief and Hughes the assistant director of Homeland Security for the state of Alabama.
The Henry County Report kicks off its report with a photo of Parrish, Hughes, and other officers holding a confederate flag at a meeting for a Neoconfederate organization. Their club “advocated for blacks to return to Africa, published that the civil-rights movement is really a Jewish conspiracy, and that blacks have lower IQ’s.” Allegedly, their beliefs led them to help wrongfully convict hundreds of men, and “specifically, young black men who had clean records were targeted.”
Now a number of Dothan officers have come forward under the cloak of anonymity. They want to expose the wrongdoings of their department and bring justice to the men who were falsely imprisoned. Before the previous investigation was shut down and the resulting files were buried, a countless number of allegations were made involving planted guns, drugs and other evidence. The initial investigation’s slow kick-off was telling: