“The Gump,” as Montgomery, Alabama is affectionately called by Montgomery Nites, is once again accused of covering up a police shooting. As is often the case, this shooting has led to the death of a Black man, born and raised in “The Gump.”
Last week, Greg Gunn was gunned down in “The Gump,” less than twenty-five steps from his front door by an unnamed officer representing “The Gump.”
Gunn’s shooting death is eerily similar to the Bernard Whitehurst case, which occurred 40 years ago this past December. According to State Representative Alvin Holmes, a member of the Alabama State House in 1975, when Whitehurst was gunned down by local authorities, not much has changed in “The Gump.”
Although no one was ever brought to justice for the police killing of Whitehurst, many in “The Gump” believed that top level city officials had conspired to cover up the unlawful killing of Whitehurst. The Whitehurst shooting led to the resignation of the mayor and the police chief.
Immediately after gunshots rang out, members of “The Gump” community rushed to the scene of the Whitehurst shooting. Those witnesses said they overheard the police dispatcher radio to the officers on the scene, “Ya’ll done shoot the wrong Nigger.”
After the Whitehurst family collected themselves they paid a visit to Donald Watkins, a young Black lawyer, fresh out of law school at the University of Alabama. When Watkins went down to the police station in “The Gump” to get a copy of the police audio tape of the conversation between the dispatcher and the officers on the scene, no recording could be found.
Watkins smelled a rat, but he could not prove a cover-up was afoot.
The police report said that Whitehurst had a gun and had pointed it at the officer. His family disputed that Whitehurst carried a gun, but the evidence scene had a photograph of a gun laying at the hand of Whitehurst’s body.
Watkins would later get a tip to check the police department’s evidence room log-in sheet.
Watkins discovered that the weapon officers claimed had been in the possession of Whitehurst, had been logged in the evidence room for well over a year.
This could only mean that someone who had access to the police evidence room had removed the gun from the evidence room and planted it at the crime scene to make it appear that Whitehurst had a gun.
In the Gunn case, the authorities allege that he had a weapon and threatened to use it against the officer. It is alleged that Gunn had a pole or a painter’s stick. Gunn’s family disputes that Gunn had a weapon in his possession and that he would attempt to fight a police officer. If anything, Gunn’s brother said, “He would have run from the police.”
Another cover-up in “The Gump,” you tell me?
Unpublished screenplay, Cover Up in the Confederacy, Harold Michael Harvey, 2014