Former Birmingham officers asking for jobs back

David Doran during Monday's hearing at the JeffCo Personnel Board
David Doran during Monday's hearing at the JeffCo Personnel Board

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Five Birmingham Police officers are at the Jefferson County Personnel Monday asking for their jobs back after they were accused of using excessive force during a major police chase caught on camera in 2008.

Officers David Doran and Barrett Dewitt were found not guilty after they were indicted for using excessive force against Anthony Warren after a dangerous police chase in January 2008.  Warren is serving a 20 year prison sentence for the attempted murder of a Hoover Police officer during the chase.

While on the witness stand around 11:30 a.m., Doran admitted to hitting Warren seven or eight times with closed fists. He said he was trained to use pressure point control tactics which allow officers to use closed fists for defensive resistance. After witnessing Warren hit a Hoover officer with a car, Doran could have used deadly force, he said.

The entire chase took about 20 minutes, Doran said. He said none of his supervisors mentioned concerns about the arrest until it received media attention in 2009.

Attorney Gayle Gear, representing the officers said Doran has received a medal of honor from the governor's office after saving the life of a woman caught in an apartment fire in 2002.

Gear believes it was former Mayor Larry Langford who launched the action against the fired officers.

"We absolutely know that in fact we learned that in a deposition and that Larry Langford called it once the lawsuit was threatened, Mr. Warren's lawsuit, then there was just an immediate reaction to do something," Gear said.

In the mornings hearing, the hearing officer listened to audio from inside the unit of one of the Birmingham Police cars during the Warren chase. There was no official from the Birmingham Police Department present at the start of the hearing, however Police Chief A.C. Roper arrived later in the afternoon.

Michael Choy, an attorney for the chief of police and the city of Birmingham, said there were 40 police cars involved in the chase and Warren tested positive for cocaine at the hospital once he was in custody.

The other officers who lost their jobs and are expected to speak at the personnel hearing are Kenneth Prevo, Thomas Cleveland and Heath Boackle.

After nearly two hours, all of the attorneys met outside of the courtroom off the record. The hearing officer in the case could make a decision by the end of the week.

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