Connect with us

Crime

Kimberly police officer killed in the line of duty

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

Thursday, Kimberly Police Department K9 Officer Nick O’Rear, age 33, has died from his wounds. O’Rear was shot and killed during a vehicle pursuit.

“I am profoundly grieved to hear of the passing of the Kimberly Police Officer who was shot in the line of duty last night. The safety of our citizens and the rule of law is forefront on the minds of our officers who willingly risk their lives on behalf of ours. His sacrifice will never be forgotten.”

“I have just spoken with the fallen Kimberly Police officer’s family and offered them my deepest sympathies for their tragic loss. See my full statement below. #ThinBlueLine #alpolitics” Ivey said on Twitter.

Governor has called and spoken with the parents of Officer O’Rear to offer her deepest condolences for them during this difficult time.

“Kimberly PD Officer Nick O’Rear’s end of watch has come too soon,” U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and fellow officers. This tragedy is yet another heartbreaking reminder of the dangers all law enforcement face while we enjoy the safety they provide us. We must ask ourselves how we can all join together to bridge the respect deficit for law enforcement that is directly and indirectly leading to violence against our brave men and women of the badge. Enough is enough.”

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall (R) said, “We have lost yet another hero: Officer Nick O’Rear of the Kimberly PD, who was assisting in a vehicular pursuit when he was ambushed by the car’s driver. Officer O’Rear was the father of two children, with another on the way. Pray for his family and fellow officers. #ThinBlueLine”

The group Guardians of the Thin Blue Line said, “Rest In Peace Kimberly Police Department K9 Officer Nick O’Rear, age 33, who was shot and killed during a vehicle pursuit. End Of Watch: February 04, 2020 (first of two shot and killed to be posted today) Please, we ask, #SayHisName – Officer/Brother Nick O’Rear – not just “RIP” or a run of ridiculous emojis. When you SAY HIS NAME, you will REMEMBER HIS NAME and A HERO REMEMBERED … NEVER DIES.”

Around 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Warrior Police Officers attempted to stop a vehicle on Interstate 65 South near exit 281 in northern Jefferson County. The driver chose to flee. During the pursuit, O’rear joined in the chase. Officer O’Rear got in front of the suspect’s vehicle and that’s when someone from inside the fleeing vehicle began shooting at the Police vehicles.

Advertisement

Officer O’Rear was struck by gunfire while driving and crashed his cruiser a short distance away. He was rushed to UAB Hospital by Warrior firefighters in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the head. The suspects continued to flee. Around 1:00 a.m., four people were apprehended near Highway 78 in Dora and taken into custody just moments after a Blue Alert was issued for the vehicle and suspect. On Wednesday, Police Officer Nick O’Rear succumbed to his gunshot wound and was pronounced at the hospital.

Nick is survived by his expectant beloved, a son, a daughter, his K9 partner Stella, and his parents.

He had been with the Kimberly PD for one year.

“Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the families, both of blood and of Blue, to the hospital staff, to all who came running to assist and to the residents of Kimberly. -from all of us at True Blue Warriors,” Guardian of the Thin Blue Line said.

This is the first Line Of Duty death the Kimberly Police Department has ever had in their history.

“All he wanted to do was be a police officer,” Ashville Police Chief Ed Hampton told ABC 33/40.

Nick O’Rear is a native of St. Clair County and after graduating from the police academy in July 2018 he began his police career with the Ashville Police Department. After a year he moved to the Kimberly Police Department.

“His heart was into being a police officer 100 percent,” Chief Ed Hampton said. “All he wanted to do was be a police officer.”

Chief Hampton added that O’Rear was a good father and a great officer who was eager to learn, adding that they were sad to lose him when he made the switch to Kimberly. Hampton said that he was “devastated” by the news that O’Rear had been killed.

The suspected cop killer, Preston Johnson age 37, has been charged with capital murder of a Police Officer. This carries the possibility of the death penalty.

Seven law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in Alabama in 2019.
(Original reporting by ABC 33/40 TV’s Alexander Derencz contributed to this report.)

Advertisement

Crime

Seven inmates, seven workers test positive for COVID-19

Eddie Burkhalter

Published

on

The Alabama Department of Corrections on Tuesday said in a statement that seven more prison workers and seven additional inmates have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Four workers and one woman serving at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women all tested positive for coronavirus, according to an ADOC press release. There are 16 confirmed cases among staff at the facility. 

The woman serving at Tutwiler prison continues to be asymptomatic and was tested pre-operation for a scheduled surgery, according to the release, which states she has been moved to “medical isolation” and the dormitory where she was housed has been placed on on level-one quarantine, meaning inmates will be monitored for symptoms and have temperature checks twice daily. 

Other positive test results came back for a worker at Ventress Correctional Facility, another at the Alex City Community Based Facility and Community Work Center and one at the Birmingham Community Based Facility and Community Work Center, according to ADOC. 

Four inmates at the St. Clair Correctional Facility who also tested positive for COVID-19 were living in the same small area within the prison’s infirmary as an inmate who previously tested positive for the virus, according to the release. That living area remains on level-two quarantine, meaning inmates remain there for all daily activities, and the entire infirmary at St. Clair remains on level-one quarantine.

One inmate at the Kilby Correctional Facility and another at the Frank Lee Community Based Facility/Community Work Center also tested positive for  COVID-19. 

The man serving at Kilby prison was housed in the facility’s infirmary, and was transferred to a local hospital after showing symptoms of the virus, where he tested positive, according to ADOC. Kilby’s infirmary has been placed on level-one quarantine.

Advertisement

The inmate at Frank Lee developed symptoms of COVID-19 and was taken to the Staton Correctional Facility to an area under level-two quarantine, where he subsequently tested positive, according to the department. He was then taken to medical isolation at Kilby prison,  and the facility was placed on level-one quarantine. 

There have been 68 confirmed cases among prison workers in the state, while 17 have since been cleared to return to work. 

Ten of the 19 confirmed COVID-19 cases among inmates remain active, according to ADOC. As of Monday the state has tested 176 of Alabama’s approximately 22,000 inmates, according to the department.

Continue Reading

Crime

Alabama Democratic Party chair: “Where systemic racism endures there are no winners”

Eddie Burkhalter

Published

on

The Chair of the Alabama Democratic Party on Monday called for Alabamians to come together to address systemic racism and inequality in the wake of the death of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. 

“I am angry and I am hurt. Unfortunately, I am not shocked,” said state Representative and  Chair of the Alabama Democratic Party Chris England, in a statement. 

“Inequality pervades every facet of our society. Confronting this truth is difficult, especially for those who have never experienced their race as an issue. For Black people, watching George Floyd be killed on camera felt not only horrifying, but familiar. It felt familiar because we know what it is like to be harassed by an officer or made to feel unwelcome in a certain part of town. We know what it is like for our schools, neighborhoods, and economic concerns to be ignored outright,” England continued. 

“I stand with each person who is fighting for the just and fair treatment of every Alabamian. Until ideologies rooted in racism and hate are confronted head-on, communities of color will suffer. Until we expose the lies keeping us divided, communities who do not experience their race as an issue will continue misdirecting their frustrations, and scapegoat communities of color. Where systemic racism endures there are no winners, only losers. 

“Unity demands justice. I call on every Alabamian, especially people of faith, to be on the frontlines of love and compassion. We have not come this far to only come this far.”

Two days of peaceful protests in Birmingham turned violent early Sunday morning, and Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin declared a state of emergency and enacted  a city-wide curfew to prevent a repeat of the rioting that saw numerous business burned and at least two reporters attacked.

Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday announced the authorization of Alabama National Guard members, but said it was no immediate need to activate them.

Continue Reading

Crime

Alabama attorney general signals end to fight over Birmingham’s Confederate monument

Eddie Burkhalter

Published

on

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall on Monday said the city of Birmingham would get a one-time $25,000 fine if city officials remove the Confederate monument in the city’s Linn Park, which, if done, would bring an end to a years-long battle between state lawmakers and local officials in Alabama’s largest city.

The monument was at the epicenter of a riotous protest early Monday morning, following peaceful protests in the city late Sunday over the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis.

Rioters attempted unsuccessfully to tear down the monument, and later burned businesses and attacked at least two journalists.

“The Alabama Monuments Preservation Act provides a singular avenue for enforcement — the filing of a civil complaint in pursuit of a fine, which the Alabama Supreme Court has determined to be a one-time assessment of $25,000. The Act authorizes no additional relief,” Marshall said in a statement Monday. 

“Should the City of Birmingham proceed with the removal of the monument in question, based upon multiple conversations I have had today, city leaders understand I will perform the duties assigned to me by the Act to pursue a new civil complaint against the City,” Marshall continued. “In the aftermath of last night’s violent outbreak, I have offered the City of Birmingham the support and resources of my office to restore peace to the City.”

Marshall’s statement came after Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin earlier on Monday said that he planned to remove the Confederate monument and pay a fine rather than witness more chaos.

Woodfin on Monday also declared a state of emergency and a city-wide curfew. 

Following the white supremacist rally in Virginia in 2017, some Birmingham City Council members wanted the Confederate monument in the park torn down. 

Advertisement

Instead, former Birmingham Mayor William Bell had the monument covered by plywood, and a year later, after Randall Woodfin replaced Bell as mayor, the Alabama Legislature passed a law forbidding the city — and all municipalities in the state — from removing or altering a Confederate monument.

The law imposes a $25,000 fine for each violation. 

Comedian Jermaine “Funnymaine” Johnson on Sunday called for demonstrators to tear down the monument.

Johnson told Al.com on Monday that he hated to see the protest turn violent, and said he never encouraged violence but does still call for the monument’s removal. 

“If you think I incited violence, you don’t think monuments like this and the policies behind it haven’t incited violence for decades, you just need to think again,” Johnson told Al.com.

Continue Reading

Crime

Birmingham mayor declares emergency, city-wide curfew after violence

Eddie Burkhalter

Published

on

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin on Monday declared a state of emergency and a city-wide curfew after violent protests early Monday morning that saw businesses burned and journalists attacked. 

Birmingham will be under a city-wide curfew from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. beginning Monday evening. Anyone not at home or at work during those hours could be arrested, Woodfin said. The curfew is to remain in effect indefinitely, as city officials monitor the situation, he said. 

“George Floyd is a name that we all know now, not just in the city of Minneapolis, not just in the city of Birmingham, not just in America but the world,” Woodfin said, referencing the killing of Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis that’s sparked protests across the country. 

There were many protestors who worked with the city to conduct peaceful protests in recent days, Woodfin said, but there were also local looters and anarchists bent on causing chaos and damage late Sunday into early Monday. 

“I want you to know that I 100 percent support civil disobedience. That is very different from civil unrest,” Woodfin said. “I support activism and your right to peacefully assemble. I don’t support mobs of people destroying things just because.” 

Woodfin said because of the violence he’s called for a citywide curfew, and plans to have the Thomas Jefferson statue at the Jefferson County Courthouse, which was vandalized Monday morning, removed despite a state law that makes doing so illegal.

He’d rather pay that fine than see continued civil unrest connected to it, he said. 

“That means no more parade or vigils. No more demonstrations,” Woodfin said of the citywide curfew. 

Advertisement

Woodfin also asked that anyone with video evidence or knowledge about the attack of two journalists early Monday morning to turn that evidence in. 

“You saw innocent people in the media get physically assaulted and did not do anything,” Woodfin said, and asked those who video the violence and looting to call Crime Stoppers at 205-254-7777 and arrange to turn in those videos. 

“These two journalists deserve some form of being made whole, because what happened to them was not right. They didn’t deserve it,” Woodfin said 

Birmingham Police Chief Patric Smith during the press conference said 14 businesses reported burglaries and 13 had extensive damage, and that those numbers are likely to increase as more reports come in. The department is reviewing video from the protests to identify those who committed the crimes, he said. 

“This police department intends to follow up,” Smith said 

“The Birmingham Police Department will be out in force. While we do not want to make arrest. I think you’ve placed us in a position to whereas we will,” Smith said. 

There were also 22 fire calls, 5 of them at commercial buildings, three house fires and  multiple car and dumpster fires, Birmingham Fire Chief Cory Moon said. Twenty-four people were arrested in connection with the protests, Woodfin said. 

“What happened last not will not define the city of Birmingham,” Woodfin said. “How we respond and move forward. How we embrace each other as one community. If we’re going to be for justice, let’s be for justice and let’s cut everything else out.” 

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Authors

Advertisement

The V Podcast

Facebook

Trending

.