An Alexander City, Alabama, police officer was recorded speculating about murdering a black man named Vincent Bias, and kept his job after the incident, the Guardian reports.

“If he fucking hit me or threatened my life, I would fucking kill that motherfucker with whatever I had in that fucking house,” officer Troy Middlebrooks can be heard saying on the recording. “And before the police got here, I’d fucking put marks all over my shit and make it look like he was trying to fucking kill me...What would it look like? Self fucking defense.”

Middlebrooks was speaking to Bias’ brother-in-law in May 2013, who began recording after the officer allegedly referred to Bias as “that nigger.” (The brother-in-law is white.) Middlebrooks was apparently upset that Bias, whom he had reportedly arrested on drug charges, had been released on bail, and made the comment after insinuating that Bias had acted violently toward his family. The murder-and-coverup plot was offered as an example of what Middlebrooks would do if he were in the brother-in-law’s situation.

The city paid Bias $35,000 to settle a lawsuit stemming from the tape, according to the Guardian.

Alexander City police chief Willie Robinson told the Guardian that Middlebrooks was “disciplined” over the incident. He was not terminated from the force, however, and remains on patrol today. According to the Guardian, Middlebroks was the first Alexander City officer to the scene after Tommy Manness shot and killed Emerson Crayton, an unarmed black man, in March 2014. Manness claimed that Crayton was attempting to hit Manness with his car, and was found not at fault for the killing.

Robinson defended Middlebrooks to the Guardian, stating that the cop was “just talking” and didn’t mean what he said. He also stressed that Middlebrooks said he’d murder Bias if he were Bias’ brother-in-law, not that he’d do it himself. “He wasn’t saying that he was going to do that,” Robinson said. “He was talking about the man doing it himself.”

Image via Alabama State Bureau of Investigations/Guardian. Contact the author at