Police beating victim to file suit

Birmingham officers beat a man who was unconscious.
Birmingham officers beat a man who was unconscious.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - An attorney for five Birmingham police officers who were fired after being shown on videotape beating an unconscious suspect says they were doing their job and following their training.

Attorney Gayle Gear said Thursday that the officers did not know that the suspect, Anthony Warren, had been ejected from his car and was unconscious after it crashed at the end of a police chase.

Gear said the officers have appealed their dismissal to the Jefferson County Personnel Board.

The attorney for Warren, Wendy Crew, said she expects to file a lawsuit this week against the officers and the police department.

Crew said the suit would seek monetary damages and ask the court to order the city to change the way it trains police officers.


We've all seen high-speed chases caught on tape, but what a police dash cam in Birmingham, Alabama recorded has left five officers fired, and a department asking questions about a cover-up.

It was a high-speed chase weaving through busy streets. The suspect, in a white van, charges a police officer who rolls out of the way. But it is how it ends that has jaws now dropping.

With as many as 9 cruisers in pursuit, the suspect turns on to the interstate as a dash cam rolls.

The van is bumped by a police cruiser and flips. The suspect flies out of the window and then, as he's lying unconscious in a ditch at least six officers beat him with clubs, fists and feet.

He never moves as one officer then runs to the police cruiser and the video ends.

That was January 2008.

Suspect Anthony Warren didn't even know he was beaten. He thought his injuries were all from the wreck. But this March, around the time warren plead guilty to first degree assault the video tape surfaced.

"My first reaction was shock, which went into outrage which went into anger," said Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper.

Five of the officers have now been fired, together they had more than fifty years experience on the force.

"Exemplary police work was done up until that last 11-seconds and that last 11 seconds will not be tolerated," said Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford.

And more may now lose their jobs as the investigation continues, and officials try to determine just how many saw the tape and did nothing.

Birmingham's Police Chief says he has already instituted changes and that the beating is not reflective of the majority of Birmingham officers.

They do plan to put more cameras into police cars.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press and NBC contributied to this report. All Rights Reserved.)