When Alexander City police officer Troy Middlebrooks arrived at the residence of 49-year-old Vincent Bias' brother-in-law in May of 2013, he likely didn't expect to be recorded when he outlined a meticulous plan to kill Bias and promptly cover up the evidence. Middlebrooks also surely didn't expect the $35,000 payout, made to Bias as part of a settlement stemming from the lawsuit prompted by the recorded threats, to reemerge in the news cycle two years later. Sadly, the one thing Middlebrooks clearly did expect throughout this Alabama saga was the unshakeable tenure of his position with Alexander City.
In the portion of the recording above, recently obtained by The Guardian, Middlebrooks is heard telling Bias' brother-in-law that Bias "needs a goddamn bullet" before offering an alternate murder method:
"[I'd] fucking kill that motherfucker with whatever I had in that fucking house. And before the police got here, I’d fucking put marks all over my shit and make it look like he was trying to fucking kill me. I goddamn guarantee you. What would it look like? Self fucking defense. Fuck that piece of shit. I’m a lot different from a lot of these other folks. I’ll fucking tell you what’s on my fucking mind.”
Though it isn't heard in the excerpt above, Middlebrooks also reportedly revealed his desire to “pull [Bias] aside on a routine traffic stop and [Bias] would get killed" and repeatedly referred to Bias as "that n*****." The recording, which took place when the officer responded to a call at Bias' brother-in-law's residence related to an unleashed dog, was presented to local police officials and the mayor. Upon hearing the recording, the decision was made to pay Bias $35,000 to avoid a lawsuit in which the recordings would be made available to the public.
Middlebrooks claims a state inquiry into the threats cleared him of any wrongdoing or potential charges, though the city's attorney Larkin Radney vehemently denies this. "We have no record of us investigating this case,” Radney tells The Guardian. "I really don’t know what he’s talking about.” The troubling incident is receiving renewed interest in the national spotlight due to its inclusion in a separate ongoing case against Alexander City.
Despite supposedly receiving (obviously minimal) "discipline" following the recorded death threats, Middlebrooks was not fired and ended up being the first officer on the scene of the 2014 killing of 21-year-old Emerson Crayton Jr. at a local Huddle House. Crayton had reportedly engaged in some sort of verbal dispute with staff members, before attempting to leave the premises when he was shot and killed by officer Tommy Maness. Maness was eventually cleared of any potential charges, due in large part to now questionable testimony from Middlebrooks.
The aforementioned case against the city, including multiple references to Middlebrooks' incident with Bias, alleges a clear pattern of egregious wrongdoing within the Alexander City Police Department. The federal suit was filed by Crayton's family against Maness and the department.