African American Doctor Demands Firing Of 8 Anniston Police
TPV News Staff
Editor’s Note: Listen to a live radio interview with Ralph Bradford of Anniston, Alabama as he interviews Dr. Branch about this issue by going here: Blog Talk Radio.
Dr. Stacy Matthews Branch, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (and board certified in Forensic Medicine), Toxicologist, and Published Biomedical Researcher who now lives in Mexico, has filed an exhaustive complaint with the United States Justice Department, The Alabama Attorney General, and The City Of Anniston, against 8 Anniston Police Officers accusing them of racial profiling, illegal search and seizure, false arrest and other malicious acts.Joining Branch in calling for the dismissal of the 8 officers are The People’s Voice, an East Alabama black newspaper publication, Anniston Businessman and Activist, Ralph Bradford, and David Baker, another Anniston Activist who is CEO and Founder of Community Against Pollution (CAP).
Branch’s complaint – which includes her 15-page narrative of the episode — asks that immediate disciplinary action be taken against the 8 officers, up to and including termination. Included in the complaint is Branch’s detailed statement describing a traffic stop, which she says, traumatized her and her husband beyond belief and has cost her a whole year of her life.
On April 25 of 2007, while traveling through Anniston on I-20, Branch and her husband (then fiancé), Victoriano Martinez, who is Mexican, were stopped by two Anniston police officers because they “touched the white line.” In her complaint, Branch alleges the two officers used this as a pretext for the stop. But, after two more officers joined them, the police detained and excessively questioned the couple on the side of the highway for hours. Dr. Branch, who was en route to a medical conference in Texas, had research specimens in her vehicle, along with other items used in her veterinary practice. She also had her personal prescription medications, which included the hormone, progesterone. During questioning, Dr. Branch offered to produce her Veterinary license, as well as her DEA license, which expressly exempts her from charges for illegal possession of prescription drugs. Officers declined her offer to show them her licenses, which they later saw anyway during the searches. Eventually joined by 4 more officers (presumably from Drug Enforcement), and a drug dog, the determined officers persisted in their relentless pursuit to find illegal substances in the couple’s possession.
“They asked us all kinds of personal questions that were irrelevant to the alleged traffic violation, and that were none of their business: Where are you going? Where are you coming from? Where do you live? What do you do? What color did you paint your house?” Branch stated that the officers attempted to “quiz” her about her chemical compounds. Determined to make them be illegal substances, the officers tested and re-tested the solutions, then angered by the negative results, threw the test packets, out on the shoulder of the road. After all their searching the only thing they found was Dr. Branch’s prescription medication, and despite her having the written prescriptions in her possession, they still charged her with “illegal possession of prescription drugs”, (her progesterone prescription). Dr. Branch and her husband, were placed under arrest and taken to the Anniston City Jail, where they were held for hours. Branch was finally allowed to make bond, but Victoriano Martinez was held overnight.
“As if all this wasn’t enough, after we bonded out of jail, and continued our trip, we started having engine trouble ¾ only to discover ¾ these officers had gone under the hood of the truck, dismantled the air filter, emptied the radiator of all it’s fluid and drained all the motor oil out of the vehicle. There was no reason for this! This was clearly an act of malice!” Branch told Ralph Bradford on “African Americans Talking,” a Sunday morning radio show that airs on WHOG in Anniston.
Though all charges against Branch and her husband were dismissed on May 30, and July 13, 2007, Branch comments “How can any individual be expected to overcome this kind of treatment? To have your rights and your human dignity, violated out there on the highway where you have no recourse, and no choice but to lie there and allow yourself to be stripped of your constitutional rights, is like being raped… Only ten times worse…”
“My concern is how many other African Americans who didn’t have the means to fight, have had this kind of thing happen. Undeniably, if these totally unfounded charges had been allowed to stick, my entire medical career could have been ruined — all my life, my years of struggle to educate and make something of myself, would have been obliterated.”
Dr. Branch, along with several advocates, including The People’s Voice Weekly News, a black publication who assisted Branch in reaching out to the Anniston community, Ralph Bradford an Anniston business owner and radio talk show host, who interviewed Branch via telephone, on his Sunday Morning Radio Program, African Americans Talking, and David Baker, CEO of the Anniston based organization, Community Against Pollution (CAP), are demanding disciplinary action against the officers, and have asked to meet with Anniston authorities sometime in July, when Branch returns to the U.S. from Mexico.
Advocates for Branch say they believe that she is owed a public apology by The City of Anniston, as well as restitution for the emotional and financial trauma they suffered while traveling through Anniston at the hands of these reckless and undisciplined police officers.
Editor’s Notes: Dr. Branch is cited numerous times on the internet, relative to research that she has been involved in: Some links appear below:
1. FRONTIERS IN BIOSCIENCE
2. 1995 – Dr. Branch joined the faculty of the Department of Environmental & Molecular Toxicology
3. National Academic Press, Dr. Branch is mentioned regarding her bio-medical research
4. Some of Dr. Branch’s Research is summarized on this site
5. Below are links to some of Dr. Branch’s Published Research Studies on Mice, published at PUBMED.GOV
listed by article title.