The Montgomery, Alabama City Council issued a statement Tuesday night apologizing to the family of black man, mistakenly gunned down by police 37 years ago, but the family of Bernard Whitehurst says the statement is not enough.
“They read something off of a sheet. That’s not the kind of apology I’m talking about,” his widow Florence Whitehurst told BlackAmericaweb.com. “When you apologize to somebody, you come to them. You console them. You hold their hands and look them in the face.”
Bernard Whitehurst was fatally shot by Montgomery police on Dec. 2, 1975. An investigation showed Whitehurst was mistaken for a robbery suspect, and that police tried to cover up the truth by placing a gun beside his body.
A scandal followed, and when the investigation ended, several city officials had resigned, including the man serving as mayor at the time.
The family has not received compensation for the loss, and lawyers said the statute of limitations has run out.
Florence Whitehurst still remembers the day her husband died. He had left home around 3:30 p.m. But he never came home that night.
She remembered seeing something on the evening news about the police shooting someone, but they didn’t give a name.
“I didn’t know they had killed him until the next morning when my mother-in-law called to tell me,” she said.
The years immediately following the shooting death of her husband were not easy for the young Whitehurst family.
The young mother and a widow, Whitehurst had a two-month-old, twin three-year-olds and a four-year-old at the time of her husband’s death.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do,” she said. “When I went to get on Social Security, they told me I would be getting $97 a month. That was in 1975. I couldn’t do much with that.”
Her husband was working as a cook at McDonald's before he was killed, and he hadn’t been on that job too long. “He didn’t have much Social Security for us draw. We were young, and he hadn’t been working a long time.”
Growing up in the southern city that once served as home to the Confederacy, Florence Whitehurst said her husband did not like to be around police officers.
“When he would see them, he would just start running,” she said. “I would tell him, ‘you don’t have to run,’ but he would still do it.” His running didn’t mean Bernard Whitehurst was doing anything wrong, he just didn’t trust police, his wife said.
Current Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange says that city is different now. Next week, he said there will be a formal event for the Whitehurst family. At that event, the family will be presented a framed copy of the apology resolution, Strange said.
The resolution was unanimously passed and says that council members "recognize the grief, pain and suffering caused by actions years ago."
Stacy Whitehurst, the oldest of the couple's children, said he was pleased that the city is planning a marker to honor his father, but that doesn't go far enough.
"We want justice," Stacy Whitehurst told BlackAmericaweb.com. "There are still people around who were involved in this, but no one ever went to jail."
Since he was old enough to fight for justice, Stacy Whitehurst said he has been working on behalf of his family.
The Whitehurst family was represented by lawyer Donald Watkins in the aftermath of Bernard Whitehurst's death.
Watkins says the city's response to the family has been inadequate.
The Whitehurst family deserves an apology and adequate compensation, Watkins told BlackAmericaweb.com via email. Bernard Whitehurst's death and subsequent police coverup in 1975 were inexcusable.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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