Falsely charged Wings Cafe shooting suspect sues Bibb sheriff

A Bibb County murder suspect who spent more than six months in jail for a nightclub shooting before charges were dropped has sued the Bibb County sheriff.

In December 2014, deputies arrested Eric Watkins on charges connected to the Wings Cafe shooting --the former Macon nightclub where three people died in a shootout between rival gangs.

According to his lawsuit, Watkins spent 194 days in jail. Prosecutors dropped charges against him in June 2015.

District Attorney David Cooke says Watkins was originally charged because one of the shooters in the Wings Café video looked like him, but he was able to convince investigators that he had an alibi and wasn't really at the club that night.

Watkins filed his lawsuit in Bibb County Superior Court in June, and it was moved to federal court in Macon last week.

He claims that he was held in isolation or solitary confinement for his entire six-plus months in jail.

Watkins' suit says he suffered "severe and permanent injuries" as a result, causing "great physical and mental pain and suffering, which has required counseling."

He also claims that detective Cedric Pinson used 'excessive and unnecessary force, as well as deadly force" in arresting him.

The lawsuit does not describe the alleged force by Pinson or Watkins' alleged injuries.

Watkins' lawyer, Thomas Jarriel, did not return our phone call.

Lt. Randy Gonzalez told us, "The Bibb County Sheriff's Office is aware of this lawsuit and we expect the county attorneys to be vigorous in their legal response to these claims." 

 

 

 

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