CPD officer lawsuit against city gets new judge

Published 3:44 pm Thursday, January 26, 2023

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By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor

Suspended Clanton Police Officer Cameron Bates has filed complaints against the City of Clanton in circuit civil court to be reinstated at his previous rank and pay with backpay and benefits.

A new judge from Bibb County, outside of the 19th Judicial Circuit, was assigned the case on Jan. 17 by the Alabama Supreme Court after judges in the 19th Judicial Circuit recused themselves.

According to court documents, the complaint states that Bates suspension without a hearing was a violation of state law which requires due process, specifically “a pre-disciplinary hearing prior to the suspension or termination of its law enforcement officers,” and that “the blatant violation of Bates due process rights, as provided by statue have caused and will cause Bates immediate and irreparable damage.”

According to court documentation, the Clanton Police Chief told Bates “he could no longer work for the Clanton Police Department” in November 2022 following “an emergency temporary suspension of Bates’ law enforcement certification based on allegations that Bates contends are groundless. APOST (Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training) advised that it is continuing to investigate the allegations. Bates is seeking an interview with APOST investigators and a hearing … if necessary. Bates is confident in prevailing in the APOST matter.”

On Nov.21, an email stating that Bates no longer worked for the department was send to department members by the assistant police chief. A copy of this email is a part of the complaint.

The email also states that “The situation that began in court a few weeks ago has led the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training to get involved. APOST actions resulted in Cameron having to be relieved of his duties.”

Bates’ attorney later contacted the City of Clanton attorney stating this was a violation of state law. At that point, according to court documents, Bates was told in a meeting on Nov. 30 that he was not “terminated … but was suspended without pay, but an offer to work elsewhere for the City of Clanton would be later made.”

“Almost three weeks later, Clanton offered Bates a job as a truck driver or water treatment plant maintenance technician at greatly reduced salaries,” the complaint filed by Bates and his attorney in court states.

The City of Clanton filed a motion to dismiss on Dec. 30, among its list of reasons it was stated that the “complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted” and that there were other administrative remedies available to Bates.

Bates was a lieutenant with the Clanton Police Department prior to the suspension.