Newswire: Alabama AG Steve Marshall announces victory in Alabama Supreme Court, reinstating lawsuits against electronic gambling at White Hall and VictoryLand

(MONTGOMERY) —Attorney General Steve Marshall announced that the Alabama Supreme Court today ruled in favor of the State of Alabama, allowing its litigation to proceed against electronic gambling machines in Macon and Lowndes counties. The Supreme Court overturned lower court rulings to dismiss the Attorney General’s lawsuits against Epic Tech Inc., doing business in Lowndes County and Macon County; White Hall Entertainment, Southern Star Casino and the Town of White Hall in Lowndes County; and Macon County Sheriff Andre Brunson and VictoryLand Casino in Macon County.
Attorney General Marshall’s lawsuits asserted that the electronic gambling operations in Lowndes and Macon Counties use illegal slot machines and thus are unlawful gambling activities. The Attorney General sought court orders to have these declared an illegal public nuisance and to enjoin their continued operation by the facilities and local officials who have allowed such operations to continue. Both cases were subsequently dismissed by the Lowndes County and Macon County circuit courts in 2019, and the Attorney General appealed the dismissals. 
Today, the Alabama Supreme Court reversed those decisions and held that the cases should proceed without further delay.  The cases will return to the Lowndes and Macon County circuit courts for further proceedings in accordance with the Supreme Court’s ruling. Attorney General Marshall said his office will seek injunctions to permanently halt the illegal gambling practices by these entities. 
“For too long, these individuals, businesses, and even elected officials have flagrantly violated Alabama’s laws,” said Attorney General Marshall. “Today’s ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court is an important victory for the rule of law.  We will now move forward to uphold the State’s laws and provide justice for the people of Alabama.”
AG Marshall has filed a similar lawsuit against electronic bingo in Greene County. The Greene County case has been postponed by COVID-19 and may be heard soon.

Newswire: Alabama NAACP and ACLU push City of Hoover for more information on the shooting of E. J. Bradford in the Galleria Mall

E. J. Bradford

An Alabama police officer who shot and killed a man misidentified as a shooting suspect in a Hoover mall last year will not be criminally charged. 

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall on Tuesday released a 24-page report concluding the investigation of the Thanksgiving night Riverchase Galleria shooting in which a Hoover police officer fatally shot Emantic "E.J." Bradford Jr.

Marshall's report finds that the unnamed officer "reasonably" exercised his official duties in a five-second encounter in which he shot and killed Bradford when responding to gunfire at about 9:51 p.m. on Nov. 22. 

Two officers responded to an initial shooting that injured 18-year-old Brian Wilson and a 12-year-old bystander. The attorney general's report concludes the first officer fired his gun four times. Three bullets struck Bradford in the neck and lower back. The remaining bullet, "or at least a large fragment" of it, hit a pillar near Bradford. Investigators say the fourth bullet did not strike the 12-year-old.

Hoover police initially misidentified 21-year-old Bradford as the gunman, but later said he was likely not the shooter. Erron Martez Dequan Brown, 20, was arrested in Atlanta on Nov. 29 and charged with attempted murder in Wilson's shooting.
But investigators said Bradford did have a gun, though he never fired it, according to the report. Marshall's report finds that the officer's mistake in identifying Bradford as the shooter does not mean he acted unreasonably or criminally.
The Alabama NAACP and ACLU say EJ Bradford should still be alive. But he isn't. The Attorney General released a report one week ago, calling his death "justified." However, there is still much that we the public do not know.
The public, and Bradford's family, deserve to know more information about the Hoover Police Department's policies and practices. The ACLU of Alabama and Alabama NAACP have asked the department to release their use-of-force policies, body cam policies, and racial bias training materials.
We've filed three requests and, so far, we have heard no response from the Hoover Police Department. Take action now and tell the Hoover PD to release the documents.Bradford
This information should be public record, and easily accessible to any person upon request. Refusing to disclose these policies deepens distrust of law enforcement, whereas releasing the policies will help demonstrate whether this shooting followed policy and whether the policy was appropriate and fair. The department’s silence is deafening.
In addition to the actions of the Alabama NAACP and ACLU, local community leaders in Hoover and Birmingham have called for a boycott of the Galleria Mall and other merchants in Hoover until the City Police and Administration release the full video tapes of the incident and their full policies. The community is also protesting the Alabama Attorney General’s decision not to prosecute the police that shot E. J. Bradford.

•   America watching as top three Virginia officials are embroiled in controversy

Alabama AG Marshall files lawsuits to stop ‘electronic bingo’ in Greene and other counties

Sheriff Benison revised bingo rules to provide funds to hospital

Last week, the Greene County Democrat received from Sheriff Benison, a revised copy of Section 4 of the Electronic Bingo Rules for Greene County. The revised rules provide for the Greene County Health Services, which includes the Hospital, Nursing Home, Physicians Clinic and related health care facilities, to receive $25.00 per bingo machine to support healthcare for Greene County residents.

The new rules are effective as of October 1, 2017 and will provided needed revenues for the hospital with the November
distribution of bingo funds.

 

(MONTGOMERY)—Attorney General Steve Marshall announced Wednesday the filing of multiple lawsuits against casinos in five counties that continue to operate “electronic bingo,” on what he calls illegal slot machines in defiance of state law.  The lawsuits call upon local circuit courts to prohibit the defendants from promoting, operating and transporting “electronic bingo” machines and slot machines in those counties.
The civil lawsuits were filed in Greene, Houston, Lowndes, Macon and Morgan counties against the operating casinos, machine manufacturers and vendors, and the governmental authorities responsible for licensing and overseeing electronic bingo operations in those counties. In Greene County, the lawsuit was filed against all five bingo operators, bingo machine providers and Sheriff Jonathan Benison.
“It is the responsibility of the Attorney General to ensure that Alabama’s laws are enforced, including those laws that prohibit illegal gambling,” said Attorney General Steve Marshall.

“Through multiple rulings in recent years, the Alabama Supreme Court has made it abundantly clear that electronic bingo and the use of slot machines are illegal in all Alabama counties.  Therefore, we have taken action to hold accountable those who defy the laws of our state.  These lawsuits represent a comprehensive legal approach developed by the Attorney General, with the assistance of the Office’s career experts, to finally put a stop to illegal gambling.”
Responding to the lawsuit, Sheriff Benison stated, “First of all as Sheriff of Greene County I would like to clarify and say that we do not operate as casinos, and never tried to portray ourselves as such.  We are approved, legalized electronic bingo facilities.  This is legal because we the citizens of Greene County voted overwhelmingly in 2006 for Amendment 743 to provide for electronic bingo.”
Sheriff Benison continued, “We have been operating and providing jobs and funding for Greene County through this Amendment.  I don’t know about the other counties filed in the lawsuit but as for Greene County, even the shortest closure of our Electronic Bingo facilities will result in a devastating economic downfall for our county.  We don’t have big industries or factories that our county runs off of; electronic Bingo is our livelihood.
“Thousands will be affected because so many are direct recipients of funds made through electronic bingo, such as, Greene County Board of Education, Greene County Commission, Greene County Hospital, Greene County Nursing Home, Firefighters Association, E-911, City of Eutaw, City of Forkland, City of Union, City of Boligee, Greene County Sheriff’s Office and not to mention 16 sub charities that are incorporated to make sure everyone is provided with help.
“This is all of our youth, senior citizens, our law enforcement. These are the hundreds of employees that each one of the facilities employs.  What are they to do if they lose their job?  I am shocked about this news, but we are willing to do whatever is necessary to make sure that our vote for Amendment 743 was not done in vain.”
Luther Winn Jr., CEO of Greenetrack issued a statement saying in part,
“AG Marshall’s actions have real-life consequences. By his own hand, Marshall has now jeopardized the jobs of 115 mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, who work at Greenetrack. These are good-paying jobs with health insurance and retirement benefits. Don’t let Marshall fool you – this lawsuit signals his willingness to increase Alabama’s unemployment, food stamp and Medicaid rolls by 115 from one facility here in Greene County. Marshall’s lawsuit also jeopardizes Greene County E-911 and fire protection for the entire county, both of whom are completely dependent on bingo revenues.”
Winn goes on to say, “We question AG Marshall’s motives and timing. It is worth noting that AG Marshall has accepted campaign contributions from two individuals and two out-of-state law firms with gambling ties.”
Winn says that he has made numerous complaints to Federal officials, including U. S. Attorney Jeff Sessions about corruption which has been involved in the fight against electronic bingo and efforts to violate the voting rights of Greene County citizens who overwhelming supported a referendum for Alabama Constitutional Amendment 743, which authorizes electronic bingo in the county.
Since assuming office in February, Attorney General Marshall has continued to assist other agencies and district attorneys in the enforcement of anti-gambling laws in Alabama.  The multi-county lawsuits filed last week are the culmination of ongoing investigations into these casinos and gambling ventures around the state.   The civil complaints call for the closure of the casinos because the illegal gambling they offer presents legal nuisances in the state.
Many of these cases are based on an Alabama Supreme Court case in which the justices define bingo in great detail, as a game played on paper cards, with five rows across and five columns down, in which a player must actively participate in dabbing their numbers and recognizing and calling-out when they have a winning bingo. The courts have ruled that electronic bingo machines are in reality “slot machines” and are therefore illegal.
AG Marshall has brought his legal action in the local circuit courts of the counties where the electronic bingo games are played. It will take some time before these cases are heard and a more definitive decision can be made by the courts on the future of electronic bingo.