Whitehurst Marker Unveiled

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By Ellis Eskew

  It's been over 37 years since a man was wrongfully shot by a Montgomery police officer.

 And now the story of Bernard Whitehurst will be forever remembered with a historical marker in downtown Montgomery. 

"Cover up, conspiracy and scandal have no place in the definition of a law enforcement agency," said Chief Kevin Murphy, Montgomery Police Dept.

Police Chief Murphy spoke on behalf of the Montgomery Police Department at the marker unveiling ceremony, stating the wrongs of the past will remain lessons learned for today.

On December 2, 1975 Bernard Whitehurst was shot and killed by a Montgomery police officer.
At the time, the officer claimed Whitehurst fired at police while fleeing a robbery.
But it turned out,  they had the wrong man and had planted a gun by his body.
While the cover-up caused several city leaders to resign, no apologies were ever given, until last summer when the marker was announced.

Police and city leaders gathered with Whitehurst family and friends Tuesday to see that marker revealed.

City Councilman Tracy Larkin told the crowd, "the City of Montgomery, Alabama desires to right this wrong. This dedication of this marker today seeks to move us closer to that end."

And closer to mending the wounds of the past.

"That event has changed the way we police in Montogmery. It's changed our attitude and we teach that story as a civil right versus a civil wrong," said Mayor Todd Strange.

For the family, the marker does bring some hope and satisfaction.

"It was great at the time for recognizing their wrong doing with my father's cover up. We were happy and excited about the marker. But, as well, there is more work to be done," said the victim's son, Stacy Whitehurst.

Whitehurst says he would like to see more of a public apology. The City of Montgomery hopes the marker will serve as a reminder of the past and lessons that have been learned from it.

Bernard Whitehurst's birthday would have been Thursday.

 



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