HUNTSVILLE, Ala – A Huntsville City Schools board member was in court Monday facing a misdemeanor harassment charge.
A judge continued Michelle Watkins’s trial, recusing himself since he is acquainted with her.
Watkins has been charged with misdemeanor harassment from an incident that occurred at Jemison High School in October 2018.
The day of the incident, police were called but no one was charged.
Several weeks later, police arrested Watkins and brought her to jail. She was released a half an hour later.
A large group of supporters who gathered inside and outside the courtroom today say they find her arrest to be concerning.
“This is something that could happen to anyone in the city of Huntsville,” said supporter Chris Horn. “That a person could take out an individual warrant, even after police has disposed of a case, and people in Huntsville need to know that’s just a policy that the municipal government may need to go look at again because anyone of us, you, me, Ocie, all of us, could stand a chance of having a conversation that someone doesn’t like and get hauled off to jail by another citizen.”
Watkins currently serves District 1 and is the vice president of the school board. She has been an outspoken critic of the district’s finances and past business deals.
“What lead to us being here is Michelle’s willingness to speak truth to power and be outspoken and stand up for her constituents,” stated supporter Eddgra Fallin. “And as a result, I feel that this is a punishment. I don’t think that the case has any merit.”
When Watkins left the courtroom, a mass of people surrounded her. Another one of her supporters, Ocie Maddox Jr., said he was glad to see the judge recuse himself from the trial. He said it was the right thing to do in the spirit of transparency.
Watkins’ attorney says judge George Flowers will now be presiding over the trial, set for March 29.