Killing of Tom Patterson Jr. in Alabama in 1951


Case summary

Tom Patterson Jr. (1924 – 1951), a plasterer and WWII veteran, was killed by police officer R. F. Watson in Birmingham, Alabama. The officer was attempting to arrest Patterson, allegedly for beating his wife. Watson hit Patterson with his gun, at which time the gun discharged. Watson was cleared by a coroner. A federal investigation closed without a prosecution.


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

Date of incident: 1951-07-04
Location: Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama
Location type: public space - urban
Allegation against victim: being involved in a domestic dispute in public; threatening his wife with a large knife; attacking a police officer

Coroner process
Coroner/inquest: yes
Finding of no legal responsibility: yes

Criminal process
Arrest: [ ]
Charge/indictment/information: [ ]
Grand jury: [ ]
Trial: [ ]
Conviction: [ ]
Sentence: [ ]

FBI case ID:

Birmingham 44-226

DOJ case ID:


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