A former Dothan police captain denied ever viewing or accessing pornography on his department-issued cell phone.
Keith Gray, a former captain with the Dothan Police Department, testified Tuesday as part of an appeal hearing of his termination that he never looked at pornography on his department cell phone.
“I feel like someone set me up,” Gray said.
Gray said he’d received an email from the secretary for the chief of police on May 8 that his cell phone had been activated, which was the same day internal affairs had told him he’d accessed porn on his cell phone.
After nearly 30 years of experience, Gray was fired from the department a couple of months ago.
The accessing of pornography was one of several violations Dothan City Personnel Director Delvick McKay spoke about at the start of the hearing that were the grounds for Gray’s termination.
McKay said the other violations included conduct unbecoming of an officer, membership of organizations, electronic messaging, truthfulness and a code of ethics violation dubbed ‘private life.’
Dothan City attorney Len White told the city personnel board that Gray’s termination stemmed from his direct association with a known outlaw motorcycle gang. He also said Gray’s termination did not stem from any criminal wrongdoing.
“We are not alleging and never have alleged he has committed a crime,” White said. “He had knowledge he was directly associated with an outlaw motorcycle gang.”
Gray said he received a blessing from the Outcast Motorcycle Club, and its president, because motorcycle clubs are often territorial.
“I went to Bessemer to talk with a person who is a member of Outcast. I don’t know if he is the president,” Gray said. “I never thought about his club being engaged in criminal activity.”
McKay said the charges stemmed from police responding to an assault call at the “Outcast Motorcycle Club” located at 414 N. Appletree St. in late August. Police charged eight men with felony assault from the fight at the club that night.
As a result of that response, an internal investigation was launched. McKay said Gray had apparently met with the state president of the club in April for the purpose of getting his blessing to start a new chapter in Anniston called Bama Boys.
McKay also said the charges, albeit not criminal, involved the inappropriate viewing of a pornographic website with the department-issued cell phone, along with using departmental computer programs for personal use.
Personnel Board member Earl Tyson questioned Gray if he knew any of the eight suspects arrested from the nightclub fight. Gray said he knew four of the men because of their involvement in motorcycle clubs, particularly ones prior to their joining the Outcast club.
White suggested some of the men arrested from the Outcast nightclub gave police Gray’s name to investigate. Gray said he was not at the club at the time of the assault in August.
During his testimony Gray said he never knew the Outcast Motorcycle Club was labeled an outlaw motorcycle gang by the FBI until his interrogation by internal affairs officers of the Dothan Police Department.
“My club is not Outcast,” Gray said. “My club is Bama Boys Motorcycle Club Inc.”
White showed a picture of Gray shaking hands with the president of the Outcast Motorcycle Club, an outlaw motorcycle gang in Alabama. Gray acknowledged he received that man’s blessing to start a club, Bama Boys, in Anniston.
“That’s not my club” Gray said. “I don’t go by their rules. I’m not a member of Outcast. My club is not those clubs.”
White suggested Gray was involved with the outlaw club because he’d received a blessing from the club.
Personnel Board Director Barbara Spann asked Gray to explain the difference between an outlaw motorcycle club (OMC) and others. Gray said OMC’s are often territorial and are supposed to be the “rough of the rough.”
“They’re bikers. You avoid those people and you have your own life,” Gray said. “My club does charities and has given away toys at Walton Park.”
Gray called the difference between a motorcycle gang and a motorcycle club a “play on words.”
Gray also said women are not allowed to be members of an OMC, but he has several women who are members of his motorcycle club.
Personnel Board member Earl Tyson asked Gray about the difference between the veteran patriotic motorcycle groups and his motorcycle club. Gray said he didn’t know about their bylaws.
Tyson also questioned whether people needed the approval of the Outcast motorcycle gang to join his club. Gray said he got the blessing because some motorcycle clubs can be territorial.
Board member Tim Shirley questioned why a blessing was needed, and how Gray felt about the blessing being tainted by criminal activity.
“I have not had criminal activity involved in my club,” Gray said. “I wanted to start a chapter of Bama Boys, and didn’t want any trouble out of these guys.”
Gray said he’s only had minimal contact with Outcast by asking to co-exist with them in Alabama.
“We did the minimum thing we needed to do to make sure our guys in Anniston and Dothan were safe,” Gray said.
White questioned Gray about what he would’ve done if he’d not received the blessing. Gray said he would’ve opened the chapter anyway. He also questioned whether Gray had to get a blessing from the Patriot Guard motorcycle group.
“My club, Bama Boys Motorcycle Club in Dothan, we rode with our vests before I sought the blessing,” Gray said. “My club is fine because we extended a courtesy, and that’s what we do in biking.”
White questioned Gray whether it mattered to him that members of Outcast had criminal records when he sought their blessing.
“It’s therapy getting on a bike and riding,” Gray said. “You can paint it up any way you want to. We are not going to be criminals just because you want to try and label us as criminals.”
White said he’s not questioning Gray about why he rides a bike, but why he goes to clubhouses for outlaw motorcycle gangs.
Joseph Thompson, an intelligence analyst for the FBI, testified during the hearing that outlaw motorcycle gangs constitute a threat in Alabama.
Thompson said outlaw motorcycle gangs are known to target and recruit law enforcement officers.
Thompson also said the Bama Boys Motorcycle Club was not considered an outlaw motorcycle club.
Gray also told the personnel board about himself, which included how he’s never been a member of an outlaw motorcycle club.
Gray also said he believed internal affairs started their inquiry on him because he’d complained Maj. Steve Parrish had harassed him. He said in his 28-year career, which included service with internal affairs, he’d never heard of a month-long IA investigation.
Gray talked about how he started his involvement in the junior police academy.
“I started with the Dothan Police Department as a teenager,” Gray said.
Gray attended and earned a criminal justice degree, and later a Masters Degree in education, from Troy University. He also earned a forensic hypnosis degree and is a polygraph examiner. He’s also an airplane and helicopter pilot.
Gray said he advanced through the ranks of the department, most of the time with much adversity, to the rank of captain.
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