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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Kenneth Bryan Dawson: The “Shot Caller” Who Sanctioned 1819 News' Hit Job on Fred "Bubba" Copeland

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on November 8, 2021; Updated at 9:20 a.m. PST

IMAGE: Convicted drug dealer, thief, and violent criminal offender Kenneth Bryan Dawson (left) is now 1819 News president, CEO, and publisher Bryan Dawson (right). For all intents and purposes, 1819 News functions today as the multimedia platform and propaganda wing of the Alabama Political Institute.

An Editorial Opinion

Kenneth Bryan Dawson is the president, CEO, and publisher of 1819 News, the publication that caused Smiths Station, Alabama mayor, pastor, and businessman Fred Lavon “Bubba” Copeland to commit suicide on November 3, 2021. Dawson had final approval of the “hit piece” 1819 News published on Copeland on November 1, 2023.

In prison jargon, Kenneth Bryan Dawson is the “shot caller” at 1819 News. "Shot callers" order, approve, and/or sanction "hit jobs" on designated "targets" for whatever reasons they think are necessary.

An emotionally distraught Copeland killed himself with a gun after 1819 News reporter Michael Craig Monger, a/k/a Craig Monger, published his premeditated “hit job” article online about Bubba Copeland and his cross-dressing fetish.

Craig Monger published this article six days after his parents' world crashed with the filing of bankruptcy petitions in a Nashville, Tennessee federal court by Tricord Business Group, LLC, and his father Robert Earl Monger, a co-owner of Tricord. Monger’s mother, Juile Monger, was Tricord’s Chief People Officer.

Jeff Poor, 1819 News' editor-in-chief, approved publication of the article, as well. Poor was promoted to editor-in-chief in June 2023 "to lead the outlet to new heights as its 'head coach',” said Dawson. With Copeland's suicide, 1819 News reached this goal in a negative way.

Dawson is a Violent Serial Offender Who Raised $6 Million for Donald Trump/GOP Candidates in 2020

Kenneth Bryan Dawson is violent serial offender. Dawson has drug, theft, and aggravated assault convictions on his public record.

Dawson is known by his many aliases, including Bryan Dawson, Brian Dawson, and Kenneth B. Dawson. In Alabama, Dawson is known as “Bryan Dawson.”

Bryson Dawson is plugged into some of Alabama’s most powerful political players. This is particularly true for the ones who founded, operate, and fund the Alabama Policy Institute.

These politicos love Bryan Dawson. They have demonstrated their undying loyalty to Dawson by underwriting his financial security and business success in Alabama to the tune of $1,077,500 in 2021, alone.

Bryan Dawson also owns Reformation Media Consulting, LLC, a public relations company he founded on October 5, 2017.

Dawson won the hearts and minds of Alabama's MAGA political establishment when he raised $6 million for Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign and down-ballot GOP candidates in the state. Dawson’s demonstrated fundraising prowess gave him a cloak of legitimacy within the Alabama Policy Institute's sphere of influence.

Big name power players who are attached to the Alabama Policy Institute and its predecessor, the Alabama Family Alliance, have been able to overlook Bryan Dawson's mugshots, criminal court records, and rap sheet of drug trafficking, thievery, and crimes of aggravated violence because he is a proven fundraiser for Trump and state GOP candidates. This list of API power players includes: (a) co-founder/Congressman Gary Palmer

(R-Alabama), (b) co-founder/Alabama State Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Parker (R-Alabama), (c) former API president Caleb Crosby, (d) current API president Stephanie Smith, and (e) API board member/Huntsville Attorney Rod Steakley.

Bryan Dawson was able to ingratiated himself to the Alabama’s Bible-thumping "Evangelical Christian"community by telling them he is on a mission from God to save the world. As a result, they have joyfully ponied up big money for Dawson's various Alabama-based entities and enterprises, as well.

Dawson even lassoed the national grocery chain Publix into advertising with 1819 News. We have not been able to reach Publix to find out what commercial interest the grocery store chain had in teaming up with Dawson, considering his violent criminal history.

The People of the State of Colorado v. Kenneth Bryan Dawson

The state of Colorado knows Bryan Dawson really well. They know him by his real name -- Kenneth Bryan Dawson. He amassed a rap sheet of felony criminal charges in Colorado that would have impressed New York mobster John Gotti. At one point, Dawson’s violent criminal offenses subjected him to a possible 384 years in Colorado state prisons.

Dawson is a twice convicted cocaine drug dealer and convicted thief. Dawson has also had his probation revoked in his drug case(s).

Kenneth Bryan Dawson is also a very violent person. In 2007, Dawson was charged with 14 counts of Victim Retaliation, Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Violent Crime that Caused Death, Aggravated Robbery with a Weapon, Burglary, Extortion, and Felony Menacing.

These charges grew out of incident in which Dawson and another violent offender administered a savage beating to a police informant within days after Dawson was released from a county jail on his drug charges. Dawson and his accomplice bludgeoned the informant with a black jack. The victim's blood was everywhere.

As a “shot caller,” Dawson made the decision to retaliate against this informant for snitching on him in a drug case involving meth and possession of a firearm. After his release from jail, Dawson and his accomplice went to the informant’s house to administer the beating. They left the viciously beaten informant in the house to die. While he was in the house, Dawson also stole valuable items from the unconscious victim.

The criminal charges filed in Dawson's case indicate that this victim eventually died as a result of his injuries, but Dawson says this was not the case.

We have found no court record indicating that Dawson expressed any remorse over this victim beating incident.

Dawson cut a plea deal with state prosecutors to dismiss all but one count of his violent victim retaliation offenses. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison in his aggravated assault/witness retaliation case.

Altogether, Dawson spent 16 years in county jails and state prisons for his multiple drug, theft, and crime of violence offenses.

Plea deal sentence reductions of the magnitude recorded in Dawson's case -- from 384 to 16 years -- almost always carry a lifetime obligation to serve as an "on-demand" law enforcement snitch, tool, and/or resource person.

Upon his release from prison, Kenneth Bryan Dawson: (a) relocated to Alabama, (b) claimed to have experienced what Biblical scholars call a “Saul to Paul conversion along the road to Damascus,” (c) changed his alias to Bryan Dawson, (d) aligned himself with the Alabama Policy Institute, and (e) feasted off the Institute's "dark money" contributions and its constellation of political, business, and religious allies.

The Birth of 1819 News

1819 News is a conservative news website that focuses on the state of Alabama. The publication was launched in October 2021 as an affiliate of the Alabama Policy Institute.

1819 News was managed by a non-profit corporation Dawson formed on June 1, 2021, named 1819 Media, LLC.

In 2021, the Alabama Policy Institute funneled $1,077,500 to 1819 Media, despite Dawson's rap sheet as a violent serial offender. Dawson dissolved 1819 Media on May 11, 2023.

On December 9, 2022, Bryan Dawson incorporated 1819 News, LLC, as a “for-profit” limited liability company.

On December 9, 2022, Dawson also incorporated the Alabama Media Foundation, a non-profit organization which still exists.

For all intents and purposes, 1819 News functions today as the multimedia platform and propaganda wing of the Alabama Policy Institute.

One of the Alabama Policy Institute’s influential board members is Huntsville attorney Rod Steakley, who also serves as legal counsel to Alabama A&M University. Steakley is presently guiding Alabama A&M’s efforts to surreptitiously forgo its collection of a $527,289,064 debt that is owed to the university by the state of Alabama. The U.S. Departments of Education and Agriculture publicly announced this indebtedness on September 18, 2023.

Reportedly, Attorney Rod Steakley has not disclosed to Alabama A&M's board of trustees: (a) the exact nature and scope of the Alabama Policy Institute's working relationship with serial offender Kenneth Bryan Dawson, (b) API's "dark money" funding of Dawson's entities, and (c) any real or apparent conflicts of interest that may have arisen from Steakley's involvement as an API board member in these events, considering Bubba Copeland's recent suicide.

On November 2, 2023, the Alabama Policy Institute awarded embattled U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) its Warrior Award at the organization's annual dinner. Tuberville has become infamous in Washington for his unrepentant racist remarks about black Americans and his controversial blockage of hundreds of top military promotions across all branches of America's armed forces.

"Outing" Bubba Copeland

On November 1, 2023, 1819 News outed Bubba Copeland as a cross-dresser. It was a cold, calculated, media “hit job.”

Craig Monger’s article included social media posts from Copeland, under a pseudonym, and photos in which he wore women's clothing.

Copeland committed suicide two days after Monger published his article.

On November 7, 2023, 1819 News commenced what some have characterized as a “victim shaming” campaign against a deceased Bubba Copeland and his grieving family. This campaign centers around an 1819 News article about two local women who claimed their name, image, and likeness had been used by Copeland in erotic fiction, without their consent.

Interestingly, 1819 News did not say: (a) whether Bubba Copeland used the name, image, and likeness (NIL) of these two women in any written or photographic depiction of published pornography, or (b) whether Copeland used the NIL in a commercial or "for-profit" context, or (c) whether Copeland received a financial gain from the NIL that was not reported on his Alabama Ethics Commission Statement of Economic Interest form for 2023.

Likewise, 1819 News did not say whether the women featured in the November 7th article filed a lawsuit against Copeland for allegedly invading their privacy or defaming them before Craig Monger published his November 1, 2023, "hit job" article. We found no record of any such lawsuit(s) being filed in Lee County.

Bubba Copeland's death is now the subject of a state criminal investigation by the Lee County Sheriff's office and county district attorney.

What Role, if any, Did Former Alabama Senator Tom Whatley Play in the 1819 News “Hit Job” on Copeland?

Reliable confidential sources tell us that former state senator Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) may have been the person who painted a target on Bubba Copeland’s back to facilitate the 1819 News “hit job.” We do not have independent confirmation of this news report at this time.

However, in 2021, Tom Whatley was caught looking at transgender porn online, just a week after he voted in favor of a bill that restricted transgender minors’ access to lifesaving health care. As shown in the photo below, Whatley "liked" an explicit tweet by the account “Bambi Hardcore TG 18+,” who describes him/herself as an “enbi trans girl faerie princess.”

In June 2022, Whatley, who was arrested in 2014 for domestic violence, lost his re-election bid by one vote.

Another confidential source claims that a federal law enforcement agency in Alabama may have provided additional information to 1819 News after the agency determined that Copeland's fetish, while unusual, was not illegal. This kind of federal law enforcement activity occurs often. The FBI's forced suicide of Hollywood actress Jean Seberg in 1970 is the best know example of how this type of law enforcement misconduct works.

Given the drastic reduction in Dawson's criminal sentences -- from facing 384 years in prison to only serving 16 years behind bars, he fits the profile of a law enforcement "resource person." Dawson also operates the type of media platform the FBI used in the Jean Seberg forced suicide case.

Bubba Copeland’s Funeral Arrangements

The family of Bubba Copeland will receive friends on Wednesday, November 8, 2023, from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Vance Brooks Funeral Home in Phenix City, Alabama. A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, November 9, 2023, at First Baptist of Phenix City.

Bubba Copeland is survived by his loving wife Angela Simpson Copeland; his mother, Cora Annell Flowers Green and husband Hershal; his father, Fred L. Copeland Sr. and wife Cheryl of Valley, AL; a son, Carter L. Copeland; two daughters, AbbyKate Elizabeth Dawson and Ally Catherine Dawson; three sisters, Kimberlee Copeland Funk and husband Stephen; Terri Register and husband Noel and Ginger Green; and two brothers, Mike Green and wife Mardelle and Bill Green and wife Brandy.

May Fred Lavon "Bubba" Copeland Rest In Peace. Hopefully, something good will come out of Copeland's unfortunate death.


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Nov 11, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Excellent article. Donald. I interviewed you many times back in your city councilman days. I had no idea that Dawson was such a mess. Unfortunately, 1819 News paid me to cover science and technical stories after they opened for business a couple of years ago. I quit as soon as they published a sickening, nonsensical, and pseudoscientific anti-vaccination article that Dawson endorsed. The original editor also quit around that time.

Nov 11, 2023
Replying to

He also endorses ivermectin to treat Covid. He’s a fruitcake.


Nov 10, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

thank you for this! extremely well-researched. so glad someone laid this all out. these reprehensible people deserve to be shamed.


Nguyen Le
Nguyen Le
Nov 09, 2023
Rated 1 out of 5 stars.

Yeah, I'm positive Copeland offed himself because photos surfaced of him in a wig and makeup and absolutely positively nothing to do with the fact that he was writing violent so called "fiction" about constituents and posting inappropriate pictures of minors from his community along with christ knows what else we've yet to learn.

Tell me you're an attorney without telling me.

Nov 10, 2023
Replying to

Tell me you're a master at posting irrelevant comments without telling me. It makes no difference whether Copeland is dead because of the photos or the writing. BOTH were included in the hit piece by 1819.


Chris Ferguson
Chris Ferguson
Nov 09, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I also wonder why 1819News had an "About Us" page on November 3rd that showed a picture and short bio of every person and reporter and on November 4th that page was removed completely. I'm guessing that 1819News doesn't want anyone to know what they look like. That way they can't be publicly humiliated when they run into friends of the Copelands in public who aren't afraid to cause a scene...

Chris Ferguson
Chris Ferguson
Nov 12, 2023
Replying to

Oh, thank you so much! I knew I wasn't losing my mind....


Chris Ferguson
Chris Ferguson
Nov 09, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you for actually being impartial.

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