First and foremost,… I fully support Florence Police and all law enforcement agencies. We need them for protection and safety, they need us, to support them. And I do.
Now,… I read the article on Brian Peden as I’m sure many Shoals residents did. You can view it HERE.
A teen charged with manslaughter in the death of Shirley Brannon. I hope he is found guilty, here is why,..
I received a private message from an individual about an incident that happened on 11/07/2013 at Florence High School. I know the individual and also believe them. They have no reason to lie or stretch the truth. I have seen the police let others in the area off because of their football status. Dee Liner from Muscle Shoals rings a bell.
The title, Could the Florence Police Dept Be Charged With Manslaughter Too,… is facetious of course. But if they had acted differently, could there have been a better outcome?
Here is that message I was sent and I’m sharing with permission from its author.
A couple of years ago, I told you about a football player pulling out of the FloHS parking lot and hitting my van. I was very upset at the way the resource officer and another FloPo handled it. The boy was obviously driving recklessly and had no proof of insurance. But the FloPD just gave him the nod and turned the whole thing around on me. I wrote a message to the FloPD warning them that letting him go just because he was a football player was setting him up to think that he could get away with murder - and it looks like he might. This is the same boy in the article below. Such a tragedy for the woman killed and this boy and his family as well. I will always wonder if the police had stepped up and done their job that day if would have made a difference.
I didn’t blog it then,… but I am now.
Just to fill you in on what happened, I was sitting still in traffic on Bradshaw Drive and he came out of the parking lot and hit me in the rear fender. Never stopped and obviously didn't look. Wreckless driving. The resource Officer was just a few feet away directing traffic behind me and he knew traffic was stopped and that Brian Peden had to have just flown out of the parking lot without stopping. Here is a draft of the message I sent to the FloPD.....
I called the police station and I was told by the dispatcher that Officer Holt would be the person to speak with, so could you please pass this info along to him and/or the Chief or whomever would be responsible for looking in to this. This incident happened at approximately 3;20 PM on Bradshaw Drive in front of the parking lot of Florence High School. This is what happened. I was on Bradshaw Drive headed toward Helton when I was stopped by traffic in front of the High School Parking lot after picking up my daughter from Tennis workout. A student pulled out of the parking lot and hit me in the rear right hand side of my bumper while I was stopped on Bradshaw Drive. I got out of my van and told the boy we needed to exchange information and to let me see what the nearby Officer advised us to do. There was a police officer directing traffic a few yards away and I walked toward him and asked him if he could help. I had always been told that if you have an accident to stay put - but I knew we were blocking traffic, so that's why I asked. He yelled at me to 'pull over and get out it of the way and I'll be there in a minute.' So, I went down to the apartments just past the High School and the boy in the Jeep followed. I got the boys name and address and phone number but he said that the Jeep belonged to his grandfather and they didn't have an insurance card. I told him that when the police come down, that would not be good. The boy said 'Oh, that's Officer White - he knows me and knows I don't have a card, so it doesn't matter.' I thought to myself that if that is true, that is wrong according to the law - but, apparently, the boy was correct. At that moment, another police officer pulled up in his squad car. I suppose he was already at the school since I had not called for an officer but was waiting on Officer White. I walked over to his car and told him that the boy had hit me but we had exchanged info and asked him if I needed a report at this point. He kind of snickered and said 'Well, if you call a policeman, yes, you need a report.' He then asked me if my car was damaged and I said I really don't know because it took a pretty hard lick and it may have broken a tie rod or something. The officer then said that he didn't see any visible damage. He said this from looking at my van about 15-20 or so feet away. He then told me that unless he saw 500.00 worth of damage or more, that he couldn't file a report. I told him again that I didn't know if there was any damage underneath. About this tome Officer White walked up. I walked over to my van and told the second Officer that it had visible scratches from the black bumper of the Jeep, but there were already some scratches on my bumper, too. He then just looked at me and my van and rolled his eyes and snickered, and looked over at Officer White like he was disgusted with dealing with me and the whole situation. Granted, I drive an older van, a 2000 model, and it is a little banged up, and I had been working in my yard all day, so my clothes were a little dirty and tattered - I was definitely treated POORLY and disrespectfully because I guess I just looked like poor white trash to these Officers at that particular moment. The next thing that happened is what really blew me away. The second Officer, after saying initially I needed a report, then telling me he would not make one, looked at me and said 'iT'S TIME TO BE A GROWN UP HERE AND DECIDE IF YOU WANT A REPORT OR NOT.' I said 'Excuse me - I asked you if I needed one then you refused.' I could not believe he told me to 'Act like a grown up.' I had been calm and polite in dealing with these Officers. I am 48 years old and had NOT acted immaturely nor in any way to be told such a humiliating thing. He then told me to exchange information with the boy and get his insurance info. I told both the Officers that the boy did not have an insurance card. I asked the boy in front of them if he had one and he said no. He looked at Officer White who looked at the second Officer and they just nodded at each other and told me I needed to go on since I had the boys info. I was humiliated at this point at the way I had been treated and was glad to go. As I pulled off, I stopped and asked the second Officer what his name was. He gave me the DIRTIEST look you can imagine and told me 'Novac'. Then he told me to 'have a nice day' - of course, with attitude. Now, why would a police Officer be so offended that I would ask his name. I could not figure out why these 2 Officers had such an attitude toward me and let that boy go with no insurance card. I had not been disrespectful in any way toward them. I simply was trying to abide by the law and file a report. I guess this boy had told me the truth when he said that Officer White knew him and didn't care that he didn't have an insurance card. I later found out that this boy who hit me is on the football team. It is very well known that the football players get preferential treatment at the school - but for this bias to carry over to any Police Officer and interfere with their ability to deal fairly with the public is absolutely inexcusable. Obviously, there was some kind of bias against me. Perhaps these Officers saw it was a poor middle aged lady in an older van vs. a football player in a brand new Jeep and they had their mind made up to take sides with the boy. Whatever the reason, I do not feel I was treated fairly at all. It is not up to a police Officer to take sides, nor let their own judgment or bias interfere with their ability to 'serve and protect.' All I wanted was some help in dealing with an accident situation. Instead, I was treated like scum, humiliated, and watched two police Officers let a person go free who was breaking the law openly by not having an insurance card as required by Alabama State law. This was so upsetting to me that I have taken the time to write all of this in detail. I hope this will be considered and that this incident will be taken seriously and these Officers will at the least be verbally reprimanded and hopefully their actions and attitudes changed so that this never happens to another person. Personally, I think they BOTH owe me an apology but for that to happen is probably tantamount to winning the lottery. At this point I just hope that the commanding Officers and/or Chief does not share the same bias and will look into this. I think very highly of the Florence PD,. .I just hope this attitude and lack of enforcement of the law is not something that I can expect to be prevalent in our police force in the future. Thank you in advance for your help in this matter.
I have to wonder too if this accident, this death could have been avoided if the officers had acted differently. Could Ms Brannon still be alive today? We will never know that answer. My sympathies to the family. I feel this could have been avoided.