March 23, 2017 Press Release
On March 14, 2017, Officers responded to the 1800 block of Bessemer Road. Upon arrival they were notified by a black female that she had been robbed and forced into the trunk of her car.
On March 22, 2017, warrants were issued for the arrest and apprehension of Manuel Towns. Mr. Towns was charged with Robbery 1st, Kidnapping 1st and Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card. The total bonds were set at $500,000.
We are grateful for the dedicated and diligent work of the Birmingham Police Department for bringing the defendant to justice.
The victim in this case and her family are looking forward to their day in court to ensure that this defendant won’t have the opportunity to do this to anyone else.
“We should learn to live together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In January 2016, there were 7 homicides in Birmingham’s jurisdiction as compared to 5 homicides in 2017 (down 2 homicides for the month). The purpose of the press conference today is to make it perfectly clear that the gun violence has to stop. There is no obvious answer to this apparent epidemic of violence. No one should use a gun to resolve differences. However, these types of actions affect us all: The parents and family members of the victims, the parents and family members of the killer, the law enforcement personnel who arrives at the scene and views a young male or female’s body lying in a pool of blood, the various communities and the court system who ultimately decides a young man or woman’s fate.
Young people must learn that once you pull that trigger, there is a great likelihood that you may spend a considerable amount of what is left of your life in the prison system. Make no mistake, in partnership with law enforcement, we will aggressively investigate these cases. The District Attorney’s Office stands ready to vigorously prosecute these senseless, unjustified killings.
We cannot be everywhere, but we can and will be here ready to do our part in remedying this plague in our communities. We ask that you do your part as well in helping us prevent the killings before they happen, before another person loses their life. Speak to your community, to your friends, and neighbors about the violence. Spread the word that it needs to stop. I myself have been and will also continue to attend the various community meetings throughout this county. I will continue to speak out against the violence. We can make a difference together.
This week, the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution (IIP) joined the White House to co-host a roundtable on the role of the prosecutor in America’s evolving criminal justice landscape. The IIP—a novel partnership between the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and John Jay College of Criminal Justice, coordinated by the NNSC—is designed to convene prosecutorial thought leaders; highlight transformative policies aimed at increasing fairness and safety; promote intelligence-driven prosecution; reduce unnecessary confinement; and support effective crime reduction efforts. The conversation brought together elected district attorneys from around the country with other criminal justice leaders and senior White House officials to discuss innovative ways that prosecutors can use their considerable discretion to drive much needed change. Criminal justice reform has been a focus at every level of government and this group represents a diverse set of state and local leaders who are lending their voice and expertise to the national dialogue.
“It was an honor to be apart of this important discussion” said Falls who has served Jefferson County as District Attorney for the past 8 years. “We have come a long way in the past several years and continue to learn, dialogue with others, and implement new strategies to improve what we as prosecutors do. Criminal Justice is a field that changes over time, laws change, and our understanding of how we can promote the reduction of crime changes” said Falls.
Deputy Assistant to the President Roy Austin and John Jay College President Jeremy Travis began the day by framing the conversation around the national momentum for criminal justice reform, and the unique role of the district attorney in addressing flaws in the justice system. Local district attorneys, who handle the vast majority of criminal cases, can do more to embrace their role as national leaders in justice reform. Today’s forum was one of the ways the IIP intends to elevate them in critical conversations about our justice system.
Participants engaged in constructive conversations led by Assistant U.S. Attorney General Karol Mason and New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance about concrete steps and new tools that prosecutors from around the country can use to ensure their offices are enhancing public safety and promoting fairness. The discussion addressed the importance of cultivating comprehensive data to develop 21st century metrics for prosecutorial success, applying innovative strategies to reduce crime and build community trust, and focusing on reentry programming as a crime reduction tool.
This event was a step toward elevating the American prosecutor’s role in guiding the trajectory of the justice system. The IIP and John Jay College look forward to building on the discussion at today’s White House roundtable and advancing partnerships and strategies that will enhance system transparency, improve public safety, and build trust. This was not the first time that District Attorney Brandon Falls has joined with John Jay College. Together they have teamed up with several leaders in our local community for the Violence Reduction Initiative.
To learn more, please visit nnscommunities.org/iip.
- Jerry Abramson, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs
- Angela Alsobrooks, State's Attorney, Prince George's County, Maryland
- John Chisholm, District Attorney, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin
- Darcel Clark, District Attorney, Bronx, New York
- Scott Colom, District Attorney, Sixteenth Circuit Court of Mississippi
- Christine DeBerry, Chief of Staff to San Francisco District Attorney
- Brandon Falls, District Attorney, Jefferson County, Alabama
- Nancy Gertner, former U.S. federal judge, U.S. District Court of Massachusetts
- Frank Hartmann, Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School Of Government
- Paul Howard, District Attorney, Fulton County, Georgia
- David Kennedy, Director, National Network for Safe Communities
- David LaBahn, President and CEO, Association of Prosecuting Attorneys
- Karol Mason, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Program, U.S. Department of Justice
- Hillar Moore, District Attorney, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana
- Jean Peters Baker, Prosecutor, Jackson County, Missouri
- Meg Reiss, Executive Director, Institute for Innovation in Prosecution
- Tori Verber Salazar, District Attorney, San Joaquin County, California
- Dan Satterberg, Prosecuting Attorney, King County, Washington
- Jeremy Travis, President, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
- Cyrus Vance Jr., District Attorney, New York County, New York
- Kym L. Worthy, Prosecutor, Wayne County, Michigan
- Ron Wright, Professor, Wake Forrest University School of Law
After an extensive review of the evidence in this case, the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office announces the dismissal of attempted murder charges currently pending against Aubrey Williams. These charges arose from an incident that occurred on April 24, 2014.
The investigation revealed that on April 24, 2014, Birmingham Police Officers Richard Haluska and Daniel Aguirre were patrolling in the East Lake area after taking a report concerning an armed robbery at a nearby ATM. Shortly after 2:00 a.m., the two officers encountered Aubrey Williams and Devon Brown walking in an alleyway. As the officers approached the two men, Officer Haluska saw a handgun in the back pocket of Mr. Brown and he attempted to secure the weapon. The situation quickly escalated and Mr. Brown began to wrestle with Officer Haluska. As Mr. Brown continued to resist, Officer Aguirre attempted to subdue him with his Taser. At this point, Mr. Williams was on the ground. Officer Aguirre approached Mr. Williams in order to handcuff him for his safety. Mr. Williams then raised his right arm from underneath him and Officer Aguirre saw a handgun. Officer Aguirre jumped back and fired two shots. Officer Aguirre then kicked the firearm away and secured Mr. Williams. Officer Aguirre immediately ran to the patrol car to ensure the dash cam recording of the incident was preserved.
Neither Mr. Williams nor Mr. Brown were licensed to carry a concealed firearm. Mr. Brown was later charged with being a Certain Person Forbidden to Possess a Pistol and also for a murder that occurred the previous night.
The dash cam video was submitted to the FBI Crime Lab in an attempt to enhance the video image, but they were unable to do so. The results of their efforts were recently submitted to the District Attorney’s Office.
After an extensive review of all of the evidence in this case, the state is unable to meet the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Due to the fact that there are pending criminal charges against Devon Brown and ongoing civil litigation involving this incident, the District Attorney’s Office cannot release any further details concerning this matter.
The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, Vestavia Hills Police Department, and Birmingham Police Department have spent several weeks investigating an Organized Retail Crime ring operating throughout Jefferson County. During this investigation, dubbed Operation Molten Iron, an estimated $55,000 worth of retail merchandise was stolen from local retail stores or provided for controlled sales. To combat the theft ring, law enforcement worked with organized retail crime investigators from CVS, Home Depot, Publix, Target, Walgreen's and Wal-Mart. The retailers donated merchandise and personnel in order to support the operation.
The goal of Operation Molten Iron was to identify those responsible for theft of merchandise at the retail level, and to discover the destination of the stolen merchandise and the identity of individuals in the business of purchasing the stolen goods. Retailers donated merchandise so that law enforcement could conduct controlled sales in furtherance of the investigation.
During Operation Molten Iron, Officers and Agents spread out over numerous locations in Jefferson County and recovered vehicles and merchandise valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Three suspects wanted in these cases were apprehended and several more are being sought. At one location, officers also found approximately 15 pounds of Marijuana.
Organized Retail Crime costs $30 Billion annually and affects 97% of retailers in the United States. This investigation alone uncovered that one individual is suspected to be responsible for the theft of approximately $1 Million worth of property each year for over a decade, and that the property was fenced to several individuals over that time. Alabama’s lost tax revenue due to this individual would be over $100,000 annually.
At this time, law enforcement has limited tools to combat Organized Retail Crime. One subject investigated during Operation Molten Iron cannot be charged under Alabama's current criminal laws, but could be charged if Alabama had the same organized crime laws that exist in surrounding states. Fortunately, there is legislation pending in Montgomery to enact a Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) law to fight ORC as well as other organized crime. That legislation, SB234, gives law enforcement the ability to dismantle the organizational structure of the criminal enterprises operating in Alabama. We encourage everyone who is concerned about organized crime in Alabama to contact their local legislator and request passage of the RICO bill in order to give law enforcement the necessary tools to fight organized crime.
The Jefferson County District Attorney's Office would like to thank all of the law enforcement officers and the retailers involved in Operation Molten Iron for the cooperation and collaboration which has made this operation possible.
A charge against a defendant is merely an accusation. All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
Law enforcement in Jefferson County has recently become aware that several establishments are preparing to open for the purpose of operating electronic bingo in Jefferson County. As District Attorney, it is necessary to keep the public informed about the law as it relates to bingo and gambling in Jefferson County.
The rules have not changed. Commercial gambling is illegal in Alabama under the constitutional prohibitions against lotteries and the state code. Several counties have constitutional amendments that allow bingo to be played in that county and under the rules set forth in that county’s amendment. Those rules have been clarified by Alabama Supreme Court rulings over the last several years.
In 2009, the Alabama Supreme Court stated, “The game of bingo contemplates a group activity in which multiple players compete against each other to be the first to properly mark a card with the predetermined winning pattern and announce that fact.” The Supreme Court further stated in 2014 that the game of bingo “is not one played by or within an electronic or computerized machine, terminal, or server, but is one played outside of machines and electronic circuitry. It is a group activity, and one that requires a meaningful measure of human interaction and skill…”
Therefore, any electronic or computerized version of bingo is illegal in Jefferson County.
Furthermore, Jefferson County’s constitutional amendment prohibits anyone from running a for-profit business to play bingo. The only entity that can operate a game is a non-profit organization with a charitable or educational purpose. The charity must have existed for two years, and the game must take place on the premises of the non-profit organization. The non-profit may not contract with anyone to operate the game, and may not pay for either consultants or for any services in relation to bingo.
Furthermore, the constitutional amendment mandates that “no person or organization, by whatever name or composition thereof, shall take any salary, expense money, or fees or remuneration for services rendered in the operation of any bingo game.” That means that a charity cannot pay a salary to “employees” and that all proceeds from the game must go to charitable and educational purposes.
Under these restrictions, there is no conceivable way that a business could legally operate in Jefferson County for the purposes of playing bingo, regardless of whether it is played using an electronic machine or not.
My office stands ready to assist the Sheriff, each police department, and any other law enforcement agency in enforcing the laws of Alabama. Any entity preparing to open an electronic gaming business should be on notice as to the laws of Alabama before attempting to do so. If anyone has received information that my office or the Sheriff’s office have approved any electronic bingo establishment or any electronic bingo game as legal, that information is false.
Ala.Const. Jefferson County § 2
Alternatively cited as AL CONST Amend. No. 386; AL CONST Amend. No. 600
The operation of bingo games for prizes or money by nonprofit organizations for charitable or educational purposes shall be legal in Jefferson County, subject to the provisions of any resolution or ordinance by the county governing body or the governing bodies of the respective cities and towns, within their respective jurisdictions. The said governing bodies shall have the authority to promulgate rules and regulations for the licensing and operation of bingo games, within their respective jurisdictions, provided, however, that said governing bodies must insure compliance with the following provisions:
(a) No person under the age of 19 shall be permitted to play any game or games of bingo, nor shall any person under the age of 19 be permitted to conduct or assist in the conduct of any game of bingo;
(c) Bingo games shall be operated only on the premises owned or leased by the nonprofit organization operating the bingo game. If the premises is leased, the rate of rental shall not be based on a percentage of receipts or profits resulting from the operation of bingo games;
(d) No nonprofit organization shall enter into any contract with any individual, firm, association or corporation to have said individual or entity operate bingo games or concessions on behalf of the nonprofit organization, nor shall said nonprofit organization pay consulting fees to any individual or entity for any services performed in relation to the operation or conduct of a bingo game;
(e) A nonprofit organization shall not lend its name or allow its identity to be used by any other person or entity in the operating or advertising of a bingo game in which said nonprofit organization is not directly and solely operating said bingo game;
In response to the multiple requests for a public statement regarding the death of Kelci Lewis, the District Attorney’s Office for the Tenth Judicial Circuit of Alabama issues this press release. Katerra Lewis, the mother of Kelci Lewis, has been charged with Manslaughter. Her case will proceed through the adult court system of Alabama. As always with any pending charge, the District Attorney’s Office will not discuss the facts of the pending case.
In addition to the adult charge against the mother, there is also a juvenile delinquency case involving a minor in this incident currently pending in the juvenile court system. This minor is not and will not be charged as an adult. Cases involving juveniles proceed under the Alabama Juvenile Justice Act, which is quite different from the laws involving adults. Due to the rules governing the confidentiality of juvenile cases, only limited information may be made available to the public. The confidential nature of these cases tends to mean that the public is generally unfamiliar with the laws and procedures surrounding juvenile cases. It is important to note that under Alabama law, a juvenile is never charged with a criminal offense, but is charged with being a juvenile delinquent. As such, some of the well-known principles of the adult criminal justice system, such as punishment and prison, do not apply to juvenile cases.
In Alabama, juvenile law operates under the premise that the primary goal for each child charged with a delinquent act, whether that act is a minor misdemeanor or a violent felony, is to see that the child receives the care or guidance needed in order to benefit the child. This may involve individual or family counseling, psychiatric services, drug recovery, or other individualized therapeutic programs designed to rehabilitate the juvenile.
First and foremost, the juvenile court judge must determine whether a child is competent, and whether he understood the consequences of his actions before any case may proceed. The child's age, education, mental condition, and physical condition are all taken into consideration by the Court. If the court determines that the child is not competent, then the proceedings may change from a juvenile delinquency hearing to a dependency hearing concerning the general welfare of the child. The Court will also consider whether the child is a danger to himself or others and whether there are mental health issues that need to be addressed in a therapeutic environment. This means that the judge determines whether the child will remain in his home or is placed in a more suitable environment. As a last resort, the Court may consider placement in a secure, age-appropriate facility if it is determined that the safety of the community is at risk and that there is no lesser restrictive means to accomplish this goal.
Throughout the course of a juvenile delinquency case, the District Attorney's Office works to ensure that all information regarding the minor is kept strictly confidential and that the minor receives the supervision, care, and rehabilitation necessary for the welfare of the child while ensuring the safety of any of society's most vulnerable with whom the juvenile may come in contact. A case of this nature, while not unprecedented, is nevertheless a rare occurrence. Although there are other methods for the state and the juvenile courts to intercede in the life of a minor, the unique and tragic facts surrounding this case make a juvenile delinquency proceeding the best route for reaching a just resolution for all involved.
A charge against a defendant is merely an accusation. All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
On November 5th, 2015, an arrest warrant was issued by the magistrate for the Tenth Judicial Circuit, Jefferson County, Alabama for Bobby Hernandez for the felony offense of Interference with Custody, Alabama Code Section 13A-6-45. The warrant concerns the taking of Julian Hernandez from the lawful custody of his mother on August 28th, 2002 from Vestavia Hills, Alabama, and the continuing interference with custody until the 18th birthday of Julian. Bobby Hernandez is currently in the custody of law enforcement in Cuyahoga County, Ohio for charges involving the use of false identification.
Hernandez will be held without bond once the warrant is served and he is extradited to Jefferson County, Alabama.
A charge against a defendant is merely an accusation. All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office has reviewed Birmingham Police Department’s investigation into the vehicle wreck that occurred on October 4th, 2015 at 1929 Jefferson Avenue. That wreck occurred when a car occupied by a driver and a passenger struck a motorcycle driven by Kaylan Kamota Perry, causing Mr. Perry to strike a light pole and resulting in his death.
The materials reviewed include investigative reports from the Birmingham Police Department, witness statements of individuals who came forward during the investigation, and three sets of video footage of different phases of the incident collected by the detective. We have also gathered information from Huntsville concerning a previous incident involving Mr. Perry.
Concerning the events that occurred in Huntsville, the BPD investigation revealed that there was a prior incident in which Mr. Perry was assaulted by an individual who was acquainted with the driver and passenger of the car. That individual was arrested and charged with the assault on Mr. Perry. Neither the driver nor the passenger of the car involved in this incident was arrested or charged in the prior assault on Mr. Perry. A police report from the incident in Huntsville also indicates that a gun was taken from Mr. Perry during that incident.
The facts of this case indicate that on October 4th, 2015, the driver of a maroon Mercury involved in the incident pulled into the gas station at 603 Bessemer Super Highway and parked at a pump. The car was occupied by a passenger. The driver walked into the gas station and made a purchase, which included a prepayment of $5.00 in gas. That information has been confirmed by an employee at the station. The driver then walked out of the gas station and back toward his car.
At that time, Mr. Perry pulled into the station on his motorcycle followed by a second individual on a dark blue motorcycle. Video surveillance shows that the driver of the car turned his head toward Mr. Perry, and then immediately got into the driver seat of the car without making any effort to pump the gas that he had paid for. Mr. Perry then drove his motorcycle to a point several yards in front of the car and pointed toward the occupants of the car while communicating with the rider of the second motorcycle.
The rider of the second motorcycle later told the detective during the investigation that Mr. Perry indicated to him that the “guys in the car had jumped him.” We believe that this is a reference to the events that occurred in Huntsville.
The driver of the car then pulled to the right of the two motorcycles and left the gas station without pumping the gas that he had paid for. Two video cameras from the front of the gas station and one from the interior of the station recorded the events that occurred at the gas pump, including Mr. Perry following the car on his motorcycle as the car pulled away. A fourth camera from the rear of the station then captured video of the driver of the car driving through a parking lot away from the station with Perry still following the car on his motorcycle. The second motorcycle is also visible following at a far distance behind the car and Mr. Perry.
The car and Mr. Perry continued onto Brighton Road which turns into Jefferson Avenue. Investigators were able to locate a second set of video footage of the incident from a residence. This video footage shows the car and Mr. Perry driving at a high rate of speed on Jefferson Avenue, during which time Mr. Perry continued to follow the car, and then attempt to pull alongside the car.
According to eye witnesses of the incident, the car traveled down Jefferson Avenue at excessive speeds, and was being pursued by Mr. Perry on his motorcycle. Mr. Perry attempted to pull alongside the passenger side of the car, but the driver of the car maneuvered from side to side, in an effort to keep Mr. Perry from passing or approaching the car from the side.
Another gas station on Jefferson recorded a third set of video footage which includes the final seconds before the wreck and the wreck itself. Mr. Perry’s motorcycle and the car appear in the video footage at the same time traveling at a high rate of speed. Perry’s motorcycle and the car are at that point travelling alongside each other, with the motorcycle on the passenger side of the Mercury, when the car appears to veer to the left, nearly crossing the center line into oncoming traffic. The car then appears to over-correct to avoid striking oncoming traffic, causing it to make contact with Mr. Perry and his motorcycle. The impact caused Mr. Perry and his motorcycle to strike a light pole, which resulted in his death.
Witnesses to this part of the incident indicate that the motorcycle appeared to be chasing the car, and that the driver of the car lost control of the car resulting in the wreck. An accident reconstruction investigator with BPD determined from the car’s computer system that it was driving approximately 80 mph just prior to the wreck. He also found evidence at the scene in the form of skid marks which corroborate the witnesses and the assertion that the car lost control, drove toward oncoming traffic, and wrecked as a result.
Statements made to police by the driver and passenger of the car were consistent with the video footage collected in the investigation and eyewitness accounts of what occurred.
At no point in the three sets of video which captured the incident did the car follow or pursue Mr. Perry. The initial set of video footage from the Marathon gas station clearly shows Mr. Perry pursuing the car as it left the gas station. Furthermore, not a single witness has come forward to say that Mr. Perry was being pursued by the car. To the contrary, eyewitness accounts and video evidence verify that Mr. Perry was chasing the car. The facts indicate that Mr. Perry was the aggressor in this incident and the driver of the car responded to Perry’s aggression in a manner to avoid him.
After a thorough review of the evidence and facts surrounding this case, my office has concluded that there was no criminal wrongdoing on the part of the driver or the passenger of the car involved. It is clear from the evidence that the driver took actions to avoid a confrontation with Mr. Perry. Though this situation is nothing short of tragic, the evidence and facts presented to the District Attorney’s Office indicate that Mr. Perry’s death was not the result of criminal action and no charges will be made at this time.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Perry’s family and all who are affected by this tragedy.
Additionally, Chief Roper wants the public to know that “This incident was an unfortunate tragedy for the Perry family. This investigation had many twists and turns which was compounded by various rumors; however, we completed a comprehensive and extremely thorough investigation from start to finish. We actually established a joint investigations team comprised of several fatal Accident Investigators and Detectives from our Homicide Unit. We invested well over 100 hours of investigative time in determining not just what happened but what preceded the moment of impact.”
My office is in the process of reviewing the investigation into the death of Kindra Chapman while she was in custody at the Homewood City Jail. We have received the reports of the offense that led to her arrest, and determined that there was probable cause for her arrest and custody. We have received the reports from the officers on duty the evening of her death as well as the reports of the investigating detective. We have also received the statement of a witness who was in the custody of Homewood Police that same evening. Most importantly, we have received the video surveillance recordings from several cameras in and around the Homewood City Jail.
At this time, we are awaiting the final autopsy report from the Jefferson County Coroner's Office, which will include a toxicology report. I have spoken with the coroner's office and received preliminary information about the cause of death. At this time, we have reviewed the coroner's information, the inmate's statement, the investigative reports, and the video recordings. Once we receive the final autopsy report and complete our review, my office will issue further findings in this matter.
At this time, I have made a preliminary determination concerning Ms. Chapman's death. Ms. Chapman was arrested on the evening of July 14th, 2015 for the charge of Robbery First Degree. She was transported to Homewood City Jail and booked into the jail. There is no evidence that she received any injury when she was taken into custody or when she was transported to the jail. Neither the video recordings of her entering the jail, nor the video recordings of her at the time of booking, indicate that she had any injuries. Throughout the entire process, she appeared to be able to move and function on her own.
After booking, officers with the Homewood Police Department placed Ms. Chapman in a jail cell. Officers were in the process of transporting several inmates from the Homewood City jail to the Homewood Municipal Court for court hearings. During that process, Ms. Chapman was left alone in the cell. While in the cell, the video shows that she appeared to be agitated, and she attempted to damage the contents of the cell. She knocked over a water cooler, took a bed sheet, and stood on the cooler to tie the bed sheet to a wall support rail extending from the ceiling. She then used the sheet to commit suicide.
Shortly thereafter, officers were returning another inmate from court to the same cell. They discovered Ms. Chapman in the cell and immediately began efforts to resuscitate her on floor in the cell. According to the statement made by the inmate, the officers did everything they could for Ms. Chapman. Emergency medical services were contacted, and Ms. Chapman was transported to Brookwood hospital where she was pronounced deceased. The preliminary investigation of the coroner’s office has determined that Ms. Chapman’s only injury is consistent with a self-inflicted death.
At this time, I have seen no evidence of any criminal wrongdoing in the arrest and detention of Kindra Chapman, and I believe that her death is the result of a suicide. I have no plans to release any of the videos related to this matter due to the tragic nature of the situation, but I would be willing to release the video of Ms. Chapman entering the jail facility and the video of the booking process if I receive a specific request to do so by her family. I have spoken with the attorney representing Kindra Chapman’s mother, and explained my findings to him. Prosecutors with my office have also had a meeting with Ms. Chapman’s grandmother, other family members, and several of her friends, to explain the preliminary findings. Ms. Chapman’s friends and family have been through a terrible ordeal, and my heart goes out to them in this time of grief.
These are the facts with which my office is working at this time. Again, we will continue to review the entire investigation, and we will add the final autopsy report to that review when it becomes available. Once our review is completed, we will make further statements concerning our conclusions of this investigation. However, due to the concerns of the public and the accusations being made about the facts surrounding her death, I felt it necessary to make a preliminary statement in hopes of curtailing any anxiety of Ms. Chapman’s family and friends, and for the further purpose of encouraging peace in our community.
My office is in the process of reviewing the investigation into the death of Kindra Chapman while she was in custody at the Homewood City Jail. We have received the reports of the offense that led to her arrest, the reports from the officers on duty the evening of her death, and the reports of the investigating detective. We have received the statement of a witness who was in the custody of Homewood Police that same evening, and we have received the video surveillance recordings from several cameras in and around the Homewood City Jail.
At this time, we are awaiting the final autopsy report from the Jefferson County Coroner's Office, which will include a toxicology report. I have spoken with the coroner's office and received preliminary information about the cause of death. At this time, we have reviewed the coroner's information, the inmate's statement, the investigative reports, and the video that shows the events that occurred inside of the jail cell where Ms. Chapman was being held. It will take additional time to review all of the videos. After we have received the final autopsy report and completed our review, my office will issue a statement concerning our findings in this matter.
At this time, I am prepared to issue a preliminary statement concerning the investigation, but my office has been unable to speak with the family of Kindra Chapman or the attorneys who represent the family. I do not feel that it would be appropriate to release any information until I have spoken with the family about the investigation. Attempts have been made to contact the family and the attorneys, and I am awaiting a response from them.
Thousands of elderly adults who have disabilities are abused, neglected, and exploited in Alabama each year. To help raise awareness, communities and professionals across the nation and across the world, unite annually on June 15 to observe World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. One way to observe World Elder Abuse Awareness day is to wear purple. Purple is the color nationally recognized to represent elder abuse awareness. In Alabama, Governor Robert Bentley has proclaimed June 15 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
District Attorney Brandon Falls has articulated his strong stance on the subject, “The truth of the matter is that our elderly are most susceptible to physical and financial crimes. We are dedicated to working with our partners in law enforcement and social services to protect each and every one of our citizens.” Jefferson County Department of Human Resources Director Angela McClintock shares this comment: “No matter how difficult the challenge, with the help of our community partners, our Adult Protective Services Division investigates reports and arranges protection. These social workers are strongly committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the elderly.”
The Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) is responsible for the investigation of adult abuse, neglect, and exploitation. DHR also partners with over 30 agencies as members of the Alabama Council for the Prevention of Elder Abuse which works to raise awareness of elder abuse prevention. In fiscal year 2014, the Alabama Department of Human Resources investigated over 6,700 reports of suspected abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults statewide, which included elderly persons. Mandated reporters include physicians, practitioners of the healing arts, and caregivers; however, anyone can make a report by contacting their county DHR office or local law enforcement agency.
District Attorney Brandon Falls has taken the initiative in the legal fight against elder abuse and exploitation by adopting a comprehensive approach. His emphasis has been on communication between social services, law enforcement, and the attorneys in his office. In particular, his office has been at the forefront of utilizing the new Protecting Alabama’s Elders Act and recovering the assets of elderly victims by enforcement of the Alabama Comprehensive Criminal Proceeds Forfeiture Act. These two laws were passed in 2013 and 2014 giving law enforcement and victims specific tools to fight elder exploitation.
Elder abuse and exploitation are gravely under-reported. Please help us protect our vulnerable citizens who have contributed so much to our community. If you suspect mistreatment of an elderly person or an adult person who has disabilities, please call Jefferson County DHR at (205)423-4900. You can make a real difference in the life of a vulnerable adult by recognizing maltreatment and exploitation. Reports may also be made toll free to Adult Abuse Hotline 1-800-458-7214. All reports are confidential.
Brandon K. Falls, Jefferson County District Attorney, announces that 257 arrest warrants were issued on 20 defendants for charges ranging from Public Assistance Fraud 13A-9-150(b)(4), Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card 13A-9-14(b)(3), and Theft of Property 13A-8-4(a). These defendants fraudulently purchased EBT cards from beneficiaries and used those cards to purchase products in bulk to stock their stores. Several defendants were buying stolen property and selling that stolen property at inflated prices. Eleven convenience stores have been seized related to the fraudulent use of EBT cards and the purchase of stolen property.
The District Attorney’s Office would like to thank all of the agencies that assisted in this investigation including Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Secret Service, Gardendale Police Department, Wal-Mart Global Investigations, United States Marshal’s Service, Homeland Security Investigations, United States Department of Agriculture, Alabama Department of Human Resources, Hoover Police Department, Pelham Police Department, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, Internal Revenue Service, and Birmingham Police Department.
A charge against a defendant is merely an accusation. All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.