Tuscaloosa Mayor says review underway after officer shot and killed without back up

Updated: Oct. 22, 2019 at 6:13 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Tuscaloosa Police officer Dornell Cousette died while attempting to serve arrest warrants on 20-year-old Luther Watkins.

Watkins was wanted on two robbery charges and two charges of failure to appear in court. Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox believes officers should have back up with them when serving arrest warrants.

“I can not comment directly on the Cousette case itself. So put that aside, what I can tell you is this, as part of our standard operating procedure, officers are encouraged not issue warrants unless there’s back up,” Maddox told WBRC recently.

A bail bondsman testified during Watkins’ preliminary hearing that he was with Cousette to show him where Watkins might be. When Cousette chased Watkins inside a home in September, the bail bondsman remained outside.

He called for help after Cousette was shot.

“I can assure you there is a complete review that’s going on within TPD. When you lose a police officer, everything is back on the table for review. And we’re certainly doing that at this time. His sacrifice has to mean something whether it’s making safer community, whether it’s improving our operations as a police department and as a city,” Maddox concluded.

WBRC reached out to Tuscaloosa police about this story. We’re told the interim police chief did not want to comment why officer Cousette didn’t have back up or discuss department’s policy on serving warrants.

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