Concerns over accused Birmingham police officer’s past cases

Updated: Aug. 2, 2019 at 10:16 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A Birmingham legal expert said the arrest of one of the city’s own police officers could cause more problems for the department.

Officer Keith Buchanan was arrested Thursday night after being accused of staging a hoax that he was under fire by a shooter. He’s facing several charges.

Birmingham police officers and Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputies scrambled to find Buchanan after his shots fired call went out early Sunday morning, July 21. But after an investigation, Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith said Thursday, it was all a hoax.

“We could find nothing to support the officer’s account of this incident,” Smith said.

Defense Attorney Roger Appell said the accusation that Buchanan had been untruthful throws into doubt all the cases he has worked on since becoming a Birmingham police officer.

“From the moment he came on the police force, every case he became involved in is suspect right now. Particularly if he testified in a case,” Appell said.

Because of the charges now facing Buchanan, Chief Smith said they are checking into every case he worked on as an officer. “We will follow everything all the way to the end. From the start to the finish. We will review every single stitch,” Smith said.

Appell said he can’t understand why Buchanan was still on the force because of past allegations, including making a false intoxication report.

WBRC obtained Buchanan’s personnel file. It includes a command discipline hearing in 2014 over an accusation he failed to sign a warrant. In 2015 he was accused of keeping evidence, a stolen gun, for four months without completing reports. In 2016, Buchanan was accused of filing a false intoxication report.

On the current allegations, Buchanan’s attorney Emory Anthony tells us he’s still trying to figure out why his client was charged. He says Buchanan is sticking by his story.

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