An Alabama state trooper was arrested last week on charges he raped an 11-year-old girl. Turns out he'd been kicked out of the FBI for sexual misconduct allegations but was hired by Alabama after using a fake reference letter. Via Associated Press:
An Associated Press investigation found Christopher Bauer was suspended without pay and stripped of his security clearance in the FBI’s New Orleans office in late 2018 — effectively fired — amid allegations that included a co-worker’s claim that he raped her at knifepoint.
But Alabama authorities either overlooked or were unaware of that history. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the state police, told AP that it conducted a “full and thorough” investigation into Bauer’s background when he applied to be a trooper in 2019 and that “no derogatory comments were uncovered by former employers.”
Bauer indicated on his application that he was still employed by the FBI and had never been dismissed or forced to resign because of disciplinary action. And the state’s law enforcement credentialing commission provided AP a copy of a letter — purportedly from FBI headquarters — that makes no mention of Bauer’s ouster, confirms his decade of “creditable service” and deems him “eligible for rehire.”
If only the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act was passed into law last year. One of the biggest proposals in the bill is a "National Police Misconduct Registry," managed by the U.S. Attorney General.
Data to be reported to the registry and open to the public include:
- Each complaint against a law enforcement officer (aggregated by whether the complaints were found to be credible, resulted in disciplinary action, pending review, exonerated or not credible)
- Discipline records
- Termination records, including the reason for termination
- Records of certification
- Records of lawsuits and any settlements
- Instances where the officer resigns or retires while under an 'active investigation related to the use of force'
The bill would require all local, state and federal law enforcement to submit reports to the registry, and for that registry to remain open to the public.
Perhaps coincidentally, the state of Alabama has been wrestling with a severe shortage of state troopers for the past several years. Seems like it's at least possible they didn't look at closely at Bauer as they should have.