A complaint filed with the Department of Justice accuses District Attorney Doug Valeska of "egregious, unlawful, and unethical conduct." That, in the handling of evidence presented to a grand jury that looked into the shooting death of a man killed by a Dothan police officer. The complaint, authored by attorney Mark Overall and obtained by DothanFirst.com, also accuses Police Chief Greg Benton of disseminating "the media-friendly" version of events instead of telling the truth regarding the shooting which occurred in June.
The complaint, which will be made public Friday, comes after the panel found the officer was justified in shooting 22-year old Christopher Thomas to death. Thomas' SUV was being pursued by the officer after failing to yield to a traffic stop. Thomas briefly came to a stop in a parking lot along Montgomery Highway. The vehicle sped off again, according to Benton, with Thomas then trying to strike the officer who has not been publicly identified.
The district attorney presented evidence to a grand jury following an investigation into the shooting by the Alabama Bureau of Investigation.
In the complaint, Valeska is accused by Overall of far exceeding "the bounds of the law as well as the ethical boundaries of our state law. Such conduct casts doubt on the entire judicial process and further diminishes the public's trust in the legal system." Overall asks for Valeska to be suspended and that the Houston County District Attorney's Office be removed altogether from the case.
It also brings into question the arrest of two women on charges they perjured themselves before the grand jury. The document alleges witness intimidation, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, coercion, collusion, official misconduct, conspiracy to commit false arrest, and conspiracy to deprive individuals of their civil rights. However, Overall's document fails to cite specifics of alleged wrongdoing on the part of Valeska.
The complaint urges an investigation by the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney's Office, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, and others.
Valeska, speaking to reporters Wednesday, denied he's done anything wrong. "Overall asked me (in the courthouse) earlier this week to get out of the case and I told him I would not. The (grand jury) hearing was fair. I read in the media there were other witnesses who were scared to come forward. That's just a lot of talk," Valeska said.
An email seeking comment from Police Chief Greg Benton was not immediately answered.
Click below to download the document.