Three Selma cops have been placed on administrative leave after being indicted on charges of making false statements related to a matter under investigation by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall’s Office. The officers surrendered themselves at the Dallas County Jail Friday after being indicted by a Dallas County jury. The details surrounding the investigation by Marshall’s office have not be revealed but they did release a statement. In the statement the Selma cops, Toriano Neely, Jeffrey Hardy and Kendall Thomas were all charged with “knowingly falsifying, concealing or covering up material or making a false or fraudulent statement.
48-year-old Neely, a lieutenant, supervised the police department’s detectives. Hardy, 45, and Thomas, 38, were police sergeants under Neel’s supervision.
Selma Police Chief Spencer Collier reacted the news following the trio’s arrest.
“The Selma Police Department values the Attorney General’s Office as a trusted partner. So, the returned indictment from a Dallas Grand Jury is a matter that we take extremely serious. The indicted officers will remain on leave. The integrity of the Selma Police Department is our primary concern and we expect the behavior of all of our officers to reflect this integrity. We will support and cooperate with the Attorney General’s Office and the Dallas County Grand Jury Investigation. “
According to a report by the Selma Times-Journal, a fourth officer was fired from the department.
Collins said the three Selma cops “allegedly conspired” with a civilian employee to steal the mail of another department employee. The mail was “turned over to a local radio talk show host.” The State Bureau of Investigation was requested by Collins to probe the matter.
Alabama law states “providing false statements relating to any matter under investigation” constitutes a Class 3 felony, which is punishable by between one and 10 years in prison.
Julian McPhillips, a Montgomery attorney representing all three officers, said his clients are “scapegoats,” though he didn’t make clear what the officers were allegedly scapegoats for. McPhillips repeatedly criticized Selma Mayor Darrio Melton’s leadership, as well as Marshall’s office. McPhillips last week asked Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey to investigate donations from the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) to Attorney General Steve Marshall, an issue Marshall’s Democratic opponent has been trying to raise in recent weeks.
“This is a rogue investigation from a rogue mayor’s office,” he said. “[Melton] doesn’t know what he’s doing.”