Protesters Demand Charges for Officers Involved in Man’s Death
Friends of the late Kendrell Antron Watkins gathered on Monday to protest the Tuscaloosa Police Department, calling for the officers responsible for Watkins' arrest to be charged for his death.
Watkins died on Saturday at DCH Northport after being apprehended for removing all his clothing and running naked through Tuscaloosa's West End early that morning. He was Tased by an officer after leading them on a short foot chase.
While being treated by paramedics, Watkins commented that he had smoked synthetic marijuana the day before, a drug TPD Chief Brent Blankley referred to as "Mojo." He died about 90 minutes after arriving at the hospital.
"We are down here standing up because the police killed our homeboy," Dee Crummie said. "Our lifelong friend...we are standing up and doing this peacefully."
The protest took place at the intersection where Watkins was Tased. Loved ones held signs, honked car horns and spray-painted his name along with #BlackLivesMatter in the street. A small memorial marker was put together in his honor on the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and 15th Street.
"Its only right," Andrea Chavers said. "Justice needs to be served. He was just alive and I was just with this man on Thursday."
Blankley said during a Saturday press conference that both officers have been placed on administrative leave after the incident, which is general procedure for when investigations upon the department are required. He supported the officers' protocol, however, saying "they used what they thought they needed to use at the time."
"Black lives matter but all lives matter," Crummie said. "Just because you are a different color skin tone, doesn't mean you are not somebody's son, somebody's father, somebody's child. So your life matters just like mine. So if I break the law or you break the law and we [are convicted], why not the police who break the law?"
Stay tuned to this site for details regarding this case as they develop.