October 26, 2020

Family, activists demand answers in man’s death at hand of police officers

The family of a man who died while being arrested by Tuscaloosa police officers joined activists Monday to demand transparency into the investigation of the death.

Kendrell Watkins died on Aug. 15 after being tased by police in August. Officers said Watkins told them he had been smoking synthetic marijuana and was acting erratic before his arrest.

Monday, several groups joined Watkins’ family to make several demands. About 30 people gathered outside Tuscaloosa Police headquarters. The group included members of Watkins’ family, Black Lives Matter and Alabama Rally Against Injustice.

The group of activists said they are angry that more information has not yet been released in Watkins’ case and that the officers involved in the incident are back on duty even though the investigation is not yet completed.

They called for Tuscaloosa Police Chief Brent Blankley to resign.

They also demanded action from Mayor Walt Maddox to address their concerns or they promised to protest in Tuscaloosa including during Alabama football games.

Officials say that the investigation is ongoing and that investigators are still waiting on an autopsy report to explain how Watkins died.

Once that report is ready, it will be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office so a grand jury can decide if anyone will face charges.