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City Judge Throws Out Dozens of Minor Charges Linked to Police Scandal

March 14, 2002
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City Judge Throws Out Dozens of Minor Charges Linked to Police Scandal

by Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - More than a dozen misdemeanor charges have been dropped because they were associated with police officers involved in a corruption scandal.

The charges involved minor crimes, such as traffic violations or possession of small amounts of drugs, said Assistant City Attorney Charles Everage.

The charges stem from an investigation into corruption on the midnight shift of the Montgomery police. Officers were accused of kidnapping, brutality, falsifying evidence and false imprisonment.

Eight officers resigned and three were fired as a result. One of the fired officers, Michael Provo, was later reinstated.

"I'm not touching that case," said Everage, quoting a municipal judge in a transcript obtained by the Montgomery Advertiser through Alabama's open records law. The judge's name was blacked out from the transcript copy.

"I'm not touching anything that these officers are dealing with. They're tainted. I'm not going to make a verdict associated with this officer or any of those officers."

Everage said the judge dismissed the case because of Provo's association with it.

Provo is serving a 30-day suspension and must attend a human relations class at the police academy before resuming his job. He was accused of not stopping colleagues who threw rocks at a suspected crack house.

In the transcript, Everage said the defendant claimed arresting officers beat him with a flashlight after putting him in their patrol car. Everage told Provo he didn't believe that claim because he was coming from jail.

Provo's attorney, Bernie Brannon, said he didn't think the judge would have dismissed the charges if he had known Provo was only accused of witnessing wrongdoing by other officers and didn't participate in it.

"He would not have thrown that out if he had known Provo was not involved in abusing anyone," Brannon said.

The suspects allegedly abused by white officers were all black, raising racial profiling concerns among some civil rights leaders. The FBI is investigating the civil rights claims.

One of the white officers who resigned, Michael Clark, was charged with harassment and criminal use of a defense spray, a felony.

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