Killing of Willie James Watson in Georgia in 1951


Case summary

Willie James Watson, age 30, a pulpwood industry worker, was killed in 1951 by police officers Raymond Flowers and Hugh Flowers in Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia. Watson was passed out on a bench in Valdosta, either sleeping or drunk or both, when the officers tried to move him into their patrol car. Witnesses said Watson was too incapacitated to cooperate and the police beat and shot him. The officers said that they shot Watson after he attacked them with a knife and tried to flee. Grand jury indicted; state court dismissed charges. Raymond Flowers was tried and acquitted in federal court. An essay on this case, researched and authored by a CRRJ student, is available on request.


Alleged perpetrators/other named individuals:
Perpetrator group type: police

Date of incident: 1951-05-04
Location: Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia
Location type: public space - urban
Allegation against victim: resisting arrest; sleeping in public; exhibiting public drunkenness

Coroner process
Coroner/inquest: [ ]
Finding of no legal responsibility: [ ]

Criminal process
Arrest: no
Charge/indictment/information: [ ]
Grand jury: yes
Trial: yes
Conviction: no
Sentence: [ ]

FBI case ID:

Bureau 44-3706

Atlanta 44-399

DOJ case ID:


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