MPD Chief responds to internal investigations into officers

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MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste sat down with News 5 discussing recent incidents with the department’s officers.

On Wednesday, a video going viral raised concerns about excessive force, and just last night, we showed you two Mobile Police officers who recently left the department amid investigations into their behavior.

Mobile Police Chief Battiste cannot tell us any details about any of the investigations as they are ongoing, but when we sat down with him on Wednesday, he did say Mobile Police take any potentially negative actions of its officers very seriously.

A video of a Mobile Police officer arresting a man has more than 900 shares on WKRG’s Facebook page. The woman who took it said it happened on Tuesday at the corner of Lafayette and Saint Stephens Road in Mobile.

Chief Battiste told News 5 as soon as he received this video, he launched an internal investigation.

“We know what happened after the stop, but we don’t know particularly what happened before the stop,” Battiste said. He continued saying, “We don’t know what precipitated the behavior that occured, so again be patient, give us an opportunity to conduct a thorough investigation.”

Battiste said the officer shown in the video, Blake Duke, has been placed on desk duty while the department works on this incident.

This is not the only issue Mobile Police are dealing with this week. On Tuesday, Public Safety Director James Barber confirmed two officers left the department while under investigation. Now, Battiste says Mobile County’s District Attorney could get involved.

“We submitted reports for review for potential charges,” Battiste said. He says those charges could be criminal, but none of the investigations into any of the officers are related.

“Every one of these incidents, the one from yesterday, the other two officers, they are all independent investigations. They are not interrelated in any kind of way,” said Chief Battiste. 

Battiste said he will continue talking to us about investigations, showing the public police are working to remain transparent. He said each of these incidents come along with serious allegations, and he will ensure appropriate action is taken.

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