Troy (WTVY)--- The Alabama Attorney General’s office will take over an investigation into the alleged beating of a Troy teen by a police officer after Pike County’s District Attorney recused himself.
Pike and Coffee County District Attorney Tom Anderson speaks to reporters in a January 4, 2018 press conference.
“Just as the City of Troy Police Department requested a neutral and detached agency, the State Bureau of Investigations, to conduct an independent investigation, I have concluded it is in the best interest of public confidence that my office recuse itself from any involvement in the investigation,” District Attorney Tom Anderson said in a written statement.
17-year old Ulysses Wilkerson suffered facial injuries when confronted by a police officer December 23. His family alleges Wilkerson is a victim of police brutality.
However, Troy Police Chief Randall Barr believes the officer, placed on paid leave, acted appropriately. He said Wilkerson, while walking from behind a closed downtown business, was approached by the officer and fled. Barr said the teen reached into his waistband during a foot chase and the officer, believing he was in danger, used force to restrain Wilkerson. A gun was found nearby.
The State Bureau of Investigation is collecting evidence and planned to turn findings over the Anderson until the prosecutor voluntarily removed himself from the probe.
“We take this action to avoid any possible appearance of bias or political influence, and after researching national standards and recommendations related to potential conflicts or the appearance of conflicts. This action is also taken in deference to the wishes of the juvenile’s family for an outside investigation and examination of the facts,” Anderson said.
Anderson believes a supernumerary district attorney will be appointed by Attorney General Steve Marshall. Evidence and findings from the investigation by SBI will be turned over to the appointee.
Anderson plans no further comment on the matter.