Lawsuit filed regarding 2017 Wilkerson arrest

Published 9:12 pm Friday, December 6, 2019

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Five current and former Troy Police Officers are named as defendants in a civil lawsuit filed in United States District Court.

The suit was filed November 22, 2019, on behalf of Ulysses Wilkerson III and Angela Wilkerson, his mother, regarding a December 2017 incident in which the then-17-year-old was injured during his arrest in Troy. The complaint cites unlawful use of force and seeks damages due to the injuries Wilkerson received at the time.

The suit names Brandon Hicks, Barry Rodgers, Jason Barron, Brandon Kirkland and Michael Watts, as individuals and in the official capacity with the City of Troy Police Department, as defendants. Three of those men – Hicks, Kirkland and Watts – are no longer employed by Troy Police Department.

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Julian McPhillips Jr., who represents the Wilkerson family, said on Friday he plans to hold a press conference Monday in Montgomery to discuss the case. Also attending the conference will be a documentary film crew from California, he said.

“We tried to file a discovery … but they wouldn’t give us anything,” McPhillips said. “They left us with no options but to file suit.”

Wilkerson was injured when he reportedly fled from police officers in downtown Troy on December 2017. The officers resorted to physical force when the teen resisted arrest, and he was injured in the process. He was transported to Troy Regional Medical Center then to the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Wilkerson was charged with obstruction of governmental operations and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors.

The Alabama State Bureau of Investigations and special prosecutors conducted a separate investigation into the incident and presented the findings to a March 2018 grand jury, which declined to indict four unnamed officers, saying the officers acted properly when making the arrest.

Wilkerson was arrested again in December 2018 in Troy on drug possession charges. In April 2019, he was arrested and charged by Decatur Police with capital murder in connection with the February shooting death of a Decatur man.