Author: Jason Johnson

MPD responds to video of officer driving erratically, striking motorist

A viral video of what appears to be a police cruiser driving erratically and striking another motorist has prompted a response from the Mobile Police Department after making the rounds on social media. In the video, which has been viewed more than 104,000 times on Facebook alone, an MPD cruiser can seen on what appears to be an interstate swerving in and out his traffic lane for nearly five minutes. Near the end of the video, the cruiser rear ends another vehicle, which officer then promptly proceeds to pull over. On Wednesday, MPD Chief Lawrence Battiste offered the department’s...

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Release of rapist postponed after victim letter deemed fake

Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich is crediting fate for keeping a convicted rapist behind bars after the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles agreed to release him from a life sentence based on a pair of unauthenticated, handwritten letters. On Tuesday, the Parole Board was considering the early release of David Cooley, who was convicted in Mobile County of robbery, kidnapping and rape in 1997. He was only 16 years old when he and three accomplices abducted two women at gunpoint near Airport Boulevard. “They forced them into their car, drove them around town, gang-raped these two young...

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Former deputy pleads guilty to drug charge, avoids jail time

After initially contesting his charges, former Mobile County Sheriff’s deputy Chris Parsons pleaded guilty Thursday to a single count of possession of a controlled substance in an agreement that will likely keep him from serving any time in prison. Parsons, a six-year employee of MCSO at the time, was fired in March after he was caught buying illegal drugs in a sting operation executed by his former colleagues and the Saraland Police Department. At the time, MCSO told members of the press that marijuana and another “controlled substance” were found in Parsons’ patrol car. Parsons had already received an...

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Poarch Band of Creek Indians continue efforts to clarify tribal status

The interpretation of a single word appears to be a persistent concern for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PCI), which has made a significant effort in recent years to clarify the status of its federally recognized trust lands and the privileges associated with them. While it may seem like a silly question to ask more than 30 years after PCI was formally recognized, a 2009 ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has left dozens of Indian tribes across the country in a legal gray area and looking to a divided Congress for relief. The...

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Student sues USA over ‘sexual assault’ investigations

As federal officials look to revise guidance for handling allegations of sexual misconduct on college campuses, the University of South Alabama is facing a lawsuit filed by a student who says his rights were violated when USA found him responsible for two reported sexual assaults. The lawsuit alleges the processes USA used to investigate the allegations against the male student relied heavily on “hearsay” testimony, biased administrators and a closed-door hearing led by a panel of improperly trained students and faculty members. While this appears to be the first case of its kind in Alabama, it follows a trend...

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Corps of Engineers discusses shipping channel expansion

After three years, the Army Corps of Engineers is roughly halfway through a $7.8 million study of economic and environmentally feasible ways to expand the federal shipping channel in Mobile Bay. An open house was held last week in South Mobile County to provide updates on preliminary findings that will eventually be documented in a general re-evaluation report (GRR) federal officials will use to select the best expansion option for the 36-mile channel. While any proposal will ultimately require congressional approval, project manager David Newell said the Corps is currently evaluating an expansion model that would deepen the length...

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Father, son accused of trading meth for stolen goods

A father and son duo was arrested Wednesday morning for what deputies described as a scheme to trade ice (methamphetamine) for all sorts of stolen goods people were bringing to their house in Semmes. According to the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office, narcotics officers had previously made two controlled buys from the residence, which is located on Redstone Drive and owned by 57-year-old Jerry Fowler Sr. After obtaining a search warrant for the property, police returned in the early hours of Sept. 20 to find stolen vehicles, motorcycles, wedding rings, silver coins, jewelry, handguns, power tools and a utility trailer....

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Police blame coyotes for missing pets

A combination of coyote sightings and reports of missing pets have created a public safety concern for the Mobile Police Department, which offered some quick guidance for affected residents Tuesday. According to MPD, residents in the Lainfair and Yester Oaks neighborhoods have reported sightings of coyotes in the area and on their respective properties. Others have spotted the varmints roaming the streets, backyards and ditches. Police say there have been more than two dozen reports of missing pets in the area as well. While coyotes primarily hunt rodents and rabbits for food, they have been known to take advantage...

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