Thursday, July 06, 2017

I expect to see the people involved go to jail over their obstruction of justice and failure to provide “honest government services” in Megan Rondini’s case. - Donald V. Watkins 

  Donald V. Watkins Prior to Megan Rondini's case, the largest law enforcement scandal I had uncovered in Alabama involved the December 1975 police killing of Bernard Whitehurst in December. An unarmed Whitehurst, who was black, was fatally shot by Montgomery police officer Donnie Foster. The police department initially claimed Whitehurst was a fleeing felon who shot at Foster while on the run. I investigated this police killing while being subjected to a barrage of death threats. After exhuming Whitehurst's body, we discovered that he had been shot in the back. I later established that the gun found beside Whitehurst's body came from the police property room and had been "planted" at the scene by a police officer after Whitehurst was killed. To fit the police scenario, one round was discharged from the gun by the officer who transported the evidence back to police headquarters.

The Whitehurst case resulted in the resignations of Montgomery's mayor and police commissioner, the indictment of three police officers, and the firing or resignation of eight others. 

The April 3, 1977, edition of the Washington Post called the Whitehurst case "Alabama's Watergate". This case was recently featured in the December 19, 2015, edition of the New York Daily News in an article titled, "Innocent Alabama man murdered by cops 40 years ago, police heard saying 'We done shot the wrong n-----'".

In April 2013, the City of Montgomery erected a marker at police headquarters formally acknowledging that "Whitehurst, 32, did not match the robbery suspect's description; that he was unarmed, despite police claims that they returned fire after being fired upon; that the gun found by his body had been confiscated by police in a drug investigation a year earlier, and was placed at the scene as part of a police cover-up". In 2015, the City erected a second marker bearing the same language on the street where Whitehurst was killed.

Based upon the evidence I have gathered in Megan Rondini's case to date, I believe the law enforcement abuse of power and cover-up in Megan's case far exceeds the wrongdoing I exposed in the Whitehurst case. I fully expect the fallout from Megan's case to be widespread and career-ending for a lot of people.

Finally, I expect to see the people involved go to jail over their obstruction of justice and failure to provide "honest government services" in Megan Rondini's case.

As for President Stuart Bell and the UA Board of Trustees, I am at a complete loss for words to describe my utter disappointment in them for failing and refusing to push for a full, thorough, and unbiased criminal investigation in Megan Rondini's case.

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