White Hall releases video of raid

David Barber points to a weapon, an Intratec Model DC9, seized during the White Hall raid.
David Barber points to a weapon, an Intratec Model DC9, seized during the White Hall raid.
Surveillance video shows Task Force members with guns drawn.
Surveillance video shows Task Force members with guns drawn.

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Some say a picture is worth a thousand words. Tuesday a surveillance videotape was released showing what happened inside the complex during the state's early morning March 19th raid in White Hall.

White Hall officials say the video is proof of what took place early that morning when agents moved in, shut the gaming center down and confiscated cash and electronic bingo machines.

Now, Attorney Jock Smith of the Cochran Law Firm intends to prove his clients were unnecessarily traumatized during the raid. "A couple of our clients lost control of their bladder," he said. "We all know, as [famed radio personality] Paul Harvey says 'The rest of the story' about that kind of undertaking."

Earlier reports said the officers entered the entertainment center with guns drawn, but the video shows no guns in their hands. The tape does show that officers did pull out weapons on some employees, however.

"It's my understanding the people who were told to put their hands up were people that either were behind the counter where you couldn't see what was below the counter...or people who had, were visibly armed, and when they were told to put their hands up they didn't put their hands up," explained Task Force leader David Barber.

"They had no reason to pull guns," Smith said. "They had no reason to threaten employees..."

Barber says he has no regrets about the raid. "To depict this as a raid on a Sunday afternoon Sunday school social is just twisted all around," he explained.

Barber says seven weapons were confiscated during the raid and a very dangerous one was on the shoulder of one of the three armed security guards. "What makes it more dangerous than most is the size of the magazine," he said while pointing to a blown-up photo of the gun, identified as an Intratec Model DC9 9mm. "You can put 35 to 40 rounds in there."

Barber is calling the raid successful because nobody got hurt. "Think about what might have happened if the person in possession of this thing decided he wanted to play Rambo. There's enough rounds in there to take out just about everybody in the building, all the patrons," Barber noted.

White Hall's attorney said the Task Force should have told local authorities they were coming so it would have been a peaceful investigation, but Barber countered that if they had been warned they could have easily tampered with the machines.

Barber says investigators have already tested some of the 100 machines confiscated, and he still thinks they are slot machines and not electronic bingo machines. The ultimate decision on what the machines are is up to the Alabama Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, White Hall Gaming Center is open and operating under a judge's order while the case works its way through the court system.