Montgomery City Council Apologizes for 1975 Shooting; Family Not Satisfied


By Jessica Gertler

Nearly four decades later, a family receives an apology from the city after their loved one was mistakenly shot by a police officer.

In 1975, Bernard Whitehurst was mistakenly shot and killed by a Montgomery police officer, who thought he was a robbery suspect. Now, the city is expressing its dismay and sorrow, but family members say it's not enough.

After nearly forty years of silence, Montgomery city leaders apologized for the wrongful death of Bernard Whitehurst leaving family members in disbelief.

"I was very emotional. A very little shaken," says Whitehurst's son, Stacy Whitehurst.

On December 2, 1975, Whitehurst was shot and killed by a Montgomery police officer. At the time, the officer claimed Whitehurst fired at police while fleeing a robbery on West Jeff Davis Avenue.
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 tonight.

"We've take a gigantic step, and it was all unanimous," says Strange.

City leaders also announced they're creating a historical marker for Whitehurst and are finding out if it's legal to compensate the family for their loss.

While Whitehurst's sons say that's a step in the right direction, they aren't completely satisfied.

Whitehurst's son, Bernard Whitehurst III, says what's missing is "the apology for saying, 'I'm sorry for what happened.'"

They say city leaders never uttered the two most important words.

"I was just really looking for the words I'm sorry," says Stacy Whitehurst.

And when asked what their father would think of the apology: "Looking down from above, what I would think he would say. Just for them to do the right thing. Make this family whole," says Stacy Whitehurst.

Mayor Strange says in the coming week, they will host a formal event for the family, and give them the framed apology.

He also says the city is still deciding where to put the historical marker, but says it may be close to the scene or Memorial Park.


Add a comment


Comment: 1000 Characters Left

WNCF and its affiliated companies are not responsible for the content of comments posted or for anything arising out of use of the above comments or other interaction among the users. Comments are posted on site immediately and without station moderation. If you feel a comment is inappropriate you may flag it for review. For guidelines on flagging comments see our Terms & Conditions. We reserve the right to screen, refuse to post, remove or edit user-generated content at any time and for any or no reason in our absolute and sole discretion without prior notice, although we have no duty to do so or to monitor any Public Forum.