July 18, 2023

Lincoln County Grand Jury releases scathing report against Brookhaven Police

Therese Apel

Brookhaven Police Chief Kenny Collins

A Lincoln County Grand Jury returned a blistering report on the Brookhaven Police Department to Circuit Judge Michael Taylor on Tuesday.

There has been controversy surrounding embattled police chief Kenny Collins, especially since two white men allegedly fired shots at a black FedEx driver last year, bringing national attention to the police department and their procedures.

The Grand Jury, in their report obtained by Darkhorse Press briefing the judge on their activity, said they heard the sworn testimony of 27 witnesses, returned 28 true bills, continued 15 cases for further investigation, withdrew a case from the Grand Jury Docket, and remanded 2 cases to the Brookhaven Municipal Court.

“We have refused to indict eighteen (18) persons,” the report stated.

Then they added another paragraph which could be described as a vote of no confidence.

“We, the Grand Jury, after hearing criminal cases presented by the Brookhaven Police Department and speaking with the Chief of Brookhaven find: Brookhaven poorly investigates their cases, there exist a lack of accountability within the Department, Department employees gave conflicting statements to the Grand Jury of facts, the Department does not complete investigations in a timely manner, there exist a lack of professionalism within the department, the Department has a habit of witness blaming, the Department is complacent, investigations are not completed after the original investigator leaves the department, there exist a lack of training and/or continuing education, the Department is arresting individuals without sufficient probable cause, and the Department does not utilize technology to their advantage.”

Contacted for comment, District Attorney Dee Bates said, “That’s the grand jury report and it was filed.”

He would not engage questions on if the problems cited by the Grand Jury have ever caused problems in prosecuting cases.

Collins is one of the few elected police chiefs in the state, and just a few months ago, the Board of Aldermen voted 3-1 with three abstaining to make police chief an appointed position. Later, the vote was reversed when the three abstaining voted to elect instead of appoint. Now it’s in the hands of the Attorney General’s office.

It’s unclear what the city will do from this point. 

We will keep you updated on this breaking story.

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