Gov. Bentley files motion to dismiss Spencer Collier lawsuit, Freedom Rides anniversary

May 23, 2016

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley files a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by former law enforcement secretary Spencer Collier.

Bentley's attorneys say in the motion filed today that claims Collier makes in his complaint are vague and should be dismissed or clarified.

Bentley fired Collier in March and said an internal review found possible misuse of state funds within the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

Soon after, Collier accused Bentley of having an affair with former top female staffer Rebekah Caldwell Mason and interfering with state law enforcement investigations.

Bentley admitted that he made inappropriate remarks but denied having an affair or interfering with investigations.

Collier sued Bentley, Mason, the current ALEA director and others for defamation and wrongful termination and more.

Historians and activists wrapped up a weekend recognizing the 55th anniversary of the Freedom Rides occurring in Alabama in 1961.

The Alabama Historical Commission held a commemorative event at a former Greyhound bus station in Montgomery. 55 years ago, a biracial group of students participating in the Freedom Rides were attacked there by a segregationist mob. The bus station is now a civil rights museum, and Freedom Riders from across the country gathered there to share their stories.

Dr. James Day is chairman of the Alabama Historical Commission board. He says despite the struggle and pain, the Freedom Rides were ultimately a success.

“On November 1, 1961, new Interstate Commerce Commission regulations went into effect. The Freedom Riders had won an unqualified national victory. No longer did African-Americans have to sit separately or use separate waiting rooms and restaurants.”

The Freedom Rides Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 4 PM.

The seventh annual Hangout Music Festival wrapped up last night. Now it’s all hands on deck to prepare for Memorial Day weekend.

To accommodate the dozens of performances and tens of thousands of fans at the event, Hangout organizers construct what amounts to a small city on the beach each year. It takes weeks to set it all up, but everything has to come down in just a few days.

Grant Brown is the Recreation and Cultural Affairs Director for the City of Gulf Shores. He says the time crunch is difficult.

“The challenge comes to remove all the items – the stages, the tenting, all of the infrastructure build --from the beaches, because we’ve got Memorial Day weekend just a few days after the event.”

Brown says all of Gulf Shores’ public beaches will reopen to the public by this Thursday.