HCS Board member Michelle Watkins acquitted of harassment charge

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Michelle Watkins has been acquitted of a harassment charge.

The charge stems from an October 2018 incident at a school safety engagement at Jemison High School. Police told WHNT News 19 the person who filed the harassment report obtained a warrant in December 2018, which led to Watkins's arrest.

Watkins's trial, which was originally set for February 11, took place Friday morning.

Michelle Watkins says this is a day of vindication. "This has been a total embarrassment for my family and my friends, and I want to just say that the justice system prevailed today, but at the same time the justice system failed because this individual was allowed to get a bogus warrant on me."

The harassment report came from the principal of Rolling Hills Elementary, Linda Burruss. The charge stems from an October 2018 incident at a school safety engagement at Jemison High School.

Surveillance footage from that day was shown at trial.

"It just shows both of us standing up and having a conversation," said Watkins. "We're mature enough to have a difference of opinion and walk away, but to accuse someone and slander them and go out and get a warrant on them. You know I really feel sorry for the average individual who wouldn't have had that money to pay the cash money and get out of jail."

Watkins says she thinks Burruss filed the harassment charges to try and get her out of her position. But she says as a member of the school board, she will have to move forward with the principal.

"If today she called me and needed something for those students, I would still be that same board member that made sure the students got what they needed. It's not personal."

She says legislators and city council members need to reevaluate the laws around serving warrants.

"Where a citizen can just go and get a warrant on you, that needs to be revisited. They need to rewrite that because if you go out today and have an argument with someone, lord forbid they want you to just be destroyed, they could go get a warrant on you."

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