Author: Jason Johnson

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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County agrees to fund local court positions, for now

Before they’d even sorted the final details of their own budget, Mobile County Commissioners agreed to set aside hundreds of thousands of dollars to help cover funding losses in the local judicial system that have been repeatedly and routinely incurred at the state level. All three commissioners voted Monday to approve a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Administrative Office Courts, which operates the state court system in Alabama including the 13th Circuit in Mobile County. The MOU sets the groundwork for a one-time reimbursement of $392,000, which the county will use to repay the state’s costs of funding “attendant”...

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Federal prosecutors: No charges will be filed in police shooting death of Micheal Moore

The Department of Justice announced Thursday that it will not pursue federal criminal charges against former Mobile police officer Harold Hurst, who shot and killed 19-year-old Michael Moore during a 2016 traffic stop in Mobile. Officials from the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Mobile and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) notified Moore’s family of the determination, stating that “the evidence obtained through the course of a rigorous investigation is insufficient to prove [Hurst] willfully used excessive force.” According to the DOJ, the department devoted significant time and resources to investigating the events surrounding Moore’s...

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Wilmer woman found buried under porch, son arrested

Investigators with the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office located the body of a missing woman Wednesday afternoon before arresting her son for murder and her mother for interfering with the three-month investigation that ultimately led police to her body. Susan Mayo, first reported missing in June, was found buried in a 55-gallon drum approximately three feet beneath the porch at the home she shared with her son, Nathaniel Sebastian, on Glenwood Way in Wilmer. Sebastian, who lamented being treated as a suspect in his mother’s disappearance during previous television interviews, was previously arrested for “interfering with an investigation” while deputies...

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Judge dismisses Mobile’s case on police cameras

A judge has dismissed an attempt by the city of Mobile to override a local court ruling prohibiting a police officer from testifying in a criminal trial because he failed to capture and preserve footage of the defendant’s arrest on the body camera he was wearing at the time. As Lagniappe reported in August, Municipal Court Judge Shelbonnie Hall prohibited local prosecutors from “mentioning or referring to anything captured on video by the body camera” worn by the Mobile Police officer who arrested Terry Druckenmiller for DUI in 2016. According to MPD’s own body camera policy, officers are supposed to “record all contacts with citizens in the performance of official duties” and are instructed not to stop recording an event until “all arrests have been made.” It’s unclear if that happened in this case, as prosecutors were unable to produce any footage of the arrest, either because it was never recorded or was deleted after the fact. Druckenmiller’s defense attorney, L. Daniel Mims, has argued the footage should have been collected and preserved as evidence. City Prosecutor Cherlina P. Monteiro has explained in court that “once the MPD’s computer data storage reached full capacity, new video feed recorded over old data” — meaning the video was likely lost, if it ever existed. Based on a Supreme Court ruling in Brady v. Maryland, prosecutors are required to provide the defense with...

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