The Birmingham, Ala., Police Department, acknowledging a “shameful” act by several of its officers, fired five of them Wednesday for beating an unconscious Black man following a high-speed chase.
In fact, the suspect was so out of it during the beating, which was caught on a police car videotape, that he only learned about it during his trial after the DA requested a copy of the tape to play for the jury.
Anthony Warren was convicted of assault against the officers involved in the chase and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Prosecutors had a video of the chase, which occurred more than a year earlier, but their version did not include the beating, said District Attorney Brandon Falls.
Police Chief A.C. Roper said that the department had “terminated 50 years of combined service due to 10 seconds of injustice.”
It is believed that more than six supervisors had viewed the tape over the past year. The video, which has been posted on YouTube, shows several seconds of police pursuing Warren’s van.
During the chase, Warren appears to swerve into an officer, who was on foot laying tire-busting spikes. The suspect’s van was then nudged by a police cruiser and overturned on a ramp, throwing Warren from the vehicle. As Warren lay motionless on the ground, several officers rushed his limp body and pummeled him with fists, feet and nightsticks.
"In addition to these terminations, we're also reviewing our supervisor's actions, reporting mechanisms and policies," Roper said.