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Ala. Ex-Cops Admit Robbing Hispanics

June 24, 2001

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) _ Four former police officers accused of harassing and demanding money from Hispanics at traffic stops have pleaded guilty to federal civil rights charges.

The four admitted Friday they stole from Hispanics and others during traffic stops from April 1998 to July 2000. The indictment also charged the men with stealing items from schools and businesses, including portable radios and a printer.

Bobby M. Hunt, 31, was a sergeant in the Boaz police department. Jonathon R. ``Bull″ Jones, 27; Rickie T. Dobbs, 30; and 32-year-old Jeffery K. Sanders were patrol officers.

All four admitted targeting Hispanics. The officers believed Hispanics were more likely to carry money, while language barriers and their immigration status would make them less likely to resist or be believed if they complained.

The Hispanic population of Boaz, in northeast Alabama, has grown rapidly to fill agricultural jobs.

The former officers are expected to testify in the trial later this year of former Capt. Timothy Don Hooks, who was also allegedly part of the scheme. Hooks, 40, has pleaded innocent.

The four ex-officers will be sentenced Oct. 26. Civil rights violations carry a prison term of up 10 years, a fine of up to $250,000, or both. Prosecutors are expected to recommend the men receive lighter sentences for cooperating.

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