Five on-duty law enforcement officers have killed in Alabama by gunfire this year, which carries a death penalty.
Such a penalty not only has proven to be no deterrent, in the latest killing the suspect was in no danger. He assassinated an extremely popular Sheriff and later just walked into custody with the gun in his hand.
Sheriffs essentially are a political position. In this tragic case the Sheriff’s political position was especially notable for three reasons.
One: An unpopular white man assumed historically unexpected control of Alabama after alleged electronic vote machine fraud
In 2002, Republican Bob Riley narrowly beat Democrat Don Siegelman in the Alabama gubernatorial race when several thousand votes from Baldwin County, Alabama, [87.3% white] mysteriously switched from Siegelman to Riley when Democrat observers left the polling place after midnight. “When Baldwin County reported two sets of results, it was clear to me that someone had manipulated the results,” said Auburn University political scientist James H. Gundlach in a report on the controversy, A Statistical Analysis of Possible Electronic Ballot Box Stuffing.”There is simply no way that electronic vote counting can produce two sets of results without someone using computer programs in ways that were not intended.” According to Gundlach, such electronic ballot-stuffing could be accomplished by having access to the “tabulating computer at some time before the election to install [a special electronic] card and after the election to remove the card.”
Two: That surprise Governor then attempted to push a white Sheriff into a black community and they very openly disagreed with him.
Lowndes County is predominantly black. It had a population of around 11,000 in the 2010 census. In 2007, more than 60 people gathered at the Lowndes County Courthouse to protest then-Gov. Bob Riley’s appointment of a white law enforcement officer to replace the county’s deceased sheriff. At the time, the county commission president said all five commissioners and other elected officials had recommended Williams, who is black, for the position.
Three: Instead of the plant of an unpopular white Sheriff by the unpopular white Governor, it was Williams — an exceptionally popular black veteran of military and law enforcement — who eventually was elected to the job. Willams just was assassinated by the young white son of a neighboring county’s Deputy Sheriff. As Williams was meeting a group of people at a store about a loud music complaint it was the Deputy Sheriff’s son who walked up unprovoked and fatally shot Williams reportedly in front of his own son.
..the sheriff was speaking with someone at the scene before William Chase Johnson got out of his truck and approached him. “William Chase Johnson exited his truck with his pistol in hand. William Chase Johnson approached “Big John” Williams without provocation and shot Sheriff “Big John” Williams while he was fulfilling his duties as Sheriff of Lowndes County, Alabama,” the suit states.
It is not clear yet whether and how race was a factor. However, it is clear that electronic voting fraud is real and this killing has the hallmarks of a political assassination, which already has seriously shaken the community. The suspect fled and then a few hours later returned to the scene on foot carrying the assassination weapon as he calmly turned himself in for arrest.