An Alabama police officer staged a shooting last month to make it look like he was under attack, a police chief said Thursday. Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith said that Officer Keith Buchanan made a distress call early July 21 while patrolling an isolated area.
Shots could be heard in the background, and an abandoned police car was later found with a bullet hole. He was later found moaning on the ground.
The police chief said investigators determined the event was staged after they “found nothing to support the officer’s account of this incident.”
“Our investigation has concluded that this entire event was a hoax, the radio call, the shots fired, the help call, lying injured on the tracks, the damage to the police car, all a hoax,” Smith said during a news conference. Smith said they are seeking charges against Buchanan, who has been relieved of his duties.
“We will always be in relentless pursuit of our suspects,” Smith said, according to CBS affiliate WIAT-TV. “Unfortunately this time, it’s one of our own, and we will continue to do so.”
Buchanan is on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation, AL.com reported. It’s unclear whether Buchanan has an attorney who could comment.
Smith noted that the incident came during a year where officers have recently been killed or wounded in the line of duty. The police chief said the officer tried to present a “false image of heroism.”