Chief tells council members to not cross crime tape

Published 8:28 pm Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Selma Police Chief Spencer Collier has warned city council members to not enter active crime scenes.

Collier said he wanted to caution the council during Tuesday’s meeting because the issue has been a problem in the past and will not be allowed to continue.

“At any crime scene, we establish what’s called a public line. That’s the yellow line that goes around it. There have been incidents where council members have crossed that public line and disobeyed officers’ orders to get behind the public line,” Collier said. “I’m only doing this out of courtesy. Again, that’s a crime scene.”

Collier said every person who enters an active crime scene has to be logged. He told the council that “some of you” would be receiving subpoenas to testify in court since they did enter the crime scene.

“Is that me, you Councilman Leashore and Councilman Randolph — a subpoena on the way?,” questioned Councilwoman Angela Benjamin.

The warning resulted in several minutes of back and forth between the police chief and council members. Collier didn’t provide any further information or name the council members who had entered crime scenes.

Councilman Johnny Leashore said he had never entered an active crime scene or disobeyed an officer.

“Because my name was mentioned, I want to make it clear — I have never crossed a yellow line. I respect the authority of our officers,” Leashore said. “I would say to any of my colleagues … do not do it because you will contaminate the crime scene.”

Collier agreed that Leashore wasn’t one of the council members who he was referring to in his comments.

Collier said if the issue happens again council members would be treated the same as any other citizen, which led to the following exchange.

COLLIER: If it happens again, you will be treated the same as a public citizen.

COUNCILMAN CARL BOWLINE: “Which we ought to be.”

COLLIER: “It’s against the law to enter a crime scene.”

BENJAMIN: “And get that subpoena. That’s right we are. We have a right to be subpoenaed.”

COLLIER: “No, ma’am. It’s against the law. It’s against the law to enter a crime scene.”

BENJAMIN: “It’s against the law for a lot of things. Thank you, chief.”