Birmingham police officer Keith Buchanan was found lying on train tracks, not speaking, his patrol car riddled with bullets, after putting out a call for “shots fired” to dispatchers last month.
At least three law enforcement agencies blocked off roads to ensure Buchanan was rushed to the hospital with no delays as dozens of cops showed up to the hospital to show their support.
But then it was determined he had not been shot.
And now it has been determined he had made the whole thing up in what Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith calls an example of “stolen valor,” according to AL.com.
Buchanan, who was hired in 2012, will be fired and charged with criminal mischief, false reporting and discharging a firearm in city limits. Chief Smith said they are only waiting for the warrants to go “though the proper channels.
The incident took place at 1:23 a.m. on July 21 after Buchanan told dispatchers he was pulling over a car. His next call to dispatchers was that shots had been fired.
A Tarrant police officer responding to Buchanan’s call of distress found his patrol car riddled with bullets before finding the cop lying on the train tracks.
“He wasn’t communicating very well at that point,” said Birmingham Police Sergeant Johnny Williams.
According to AL.com:
But Smith said a police investigation of the incident could not corroborate Buchanan’s claims and that the officer was relieved of his duties last week. Buchanan is on administrative leave with pay for 30 days; his fate will be determined pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation.
“Our investigation has concluded that this entire event has been 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,” (Birmingham Police Chief Patrick) Smith said. “We found nothing to support the officer’s accounts of this incident. And I cant say it enough: we will always be in relentless pursuit of our suspects, even when one of those suspects is one of our own.”
The chief said Buchanan’s actions deteriorated the trust built up between the department and the community and said the incident was a case of “stolen valor” and “stolen honor.”
“This officer did a lot on that night to present a false image of heroism,” Smith said. “He endangered the lives of the community by discharging his firearm, and also other officers, as they responded from all over the city to be at his side and do everything that they can to help.”
Buchanan’s personnel file includes a 2016 reprimand for filing a false report in relation to a public intoxication arrest as well as a 2015 reprimand for keeping a suspect’s gun for four months without notifying officers before falsifying a report that he had found the weapon. In other words, he had tried to steal the gun but was then caught.