DOJ says lawsuit against Brookside should be allowed to proceed

DOJ says lawsuit against Brookside should be allowed
Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 10:54 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) -The U.S. Department of Justice is urging a federal judge to allow a lawsuit against Brookside to proceed saying “courts, prosecutors, and police should be driven by justice, not revenue”.

DOJ filed a statement of interest this week in a federal civil lawsuit filed by Brittany Coleman. She says Brookside Police pulled her over and manufactured drug charges against her which were later dismissed, according to her attorney. She ended up paying almost $1,000 in towing fees, fines and court costs.

In the filing, Carla Ward, the assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama says “the federal government has an interest in protecting constitutional rights and enforcing federal law regarding the imposition and enforcement of unlawful fines and fees.”

Brookside is under the microscope after the former chief allegedly turned the police department into an aggressive traffic stop machine. The DOJ says the case should move forward. Coleman’s attorney says this action by DOJ paints a picture of what all went on in this small town just off I-22.

“The abusive policing for profit system that has gone on for years in Brookside is egregious and is a posterchild for what happens when you let police, prosecutors and judges prioritize their own funding over public safety,” Jaba Tsitsuashvili, Coleman’s attorney who also is with the Institute of Justice said.

In the filing, the DOJ says the town’s prosecutor and municipal judge saw substantial pay increases in recent year with the judge’s salary increasing 127% from 2019 to 2021.

We’ve reached out to the town’s attorneys for comment about this latest filing.

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