Family, others gather at Tuscaloosa PD to demand information in man’s death

Calls for protests after in-custody death

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Kendrell Watkins died nearly two months ago. Monday, several groups joined his family asking for transparency into the investigation of his death and made 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.

They said they are angry more information has not yet been released in Watkins' case.

Watkins died 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.

Watkins' supporters are upset the officers involved in the incident are back on duty even though the investigation is not yet completed.

They called for 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.

“This is an example of atrocious American policing. Prime example right here in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. You are unworthy of that badge, unworthy of that position and I call for your resignation,” Celida Soto, an organizer with Alabama Rally Against Injustice, told the crowd.

The unit that is investigating the case says it is 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.

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