In August 2019, Kali Watkins was found not guilty of raping a 14-year-old girl in a locker room. Now Watkins, a former Webster Central School District girl’s basketball coach, is suing the city and police department that investigated, alleging the entire event was a coordinated attack against him by critics.
WHAM reported that Watkins alleges in his lawsuit that he was “the target of an investigation driven by personal animosity by those in the Webster Police Department and the school district for which he worked, alleging his coaching style, grudges over personal relationships and racism may all have played roles in what unfolded.”
“From its inception, the ‘investigation’ that dragged Kali Watkins through the mud was biased and tainted with animus,” Watkins says in the lawsuit. “It was spearheaded by a conflicted police department and corrupted by a school district whose own superintendent had a malicious personal vendetta against Watkins.”
The lawsuit alleges that police didn’t interview witnesses who could defend Watkins, specifically, other girls on the JV girl’s basketball coach.
“No other players were questioned by (police). This, despite the fact that these girls spent every single game with (Watkins) and the Accuser,” the lawsuit says. “These girls would have been in the best position to provide detailed facts concerning the alleged timeframe, the daily routine of players on game days, the behavior of the Accuser and Plaintiff and the use and access to the locker room.”
Instead, Watkins alleges, police only interviewed the girl who accused Watkins, who happened to be the daughter of the former Webster police chief, whom Watkins claims “were among the parents and teammates who intensely disliked” him.
Police also focused on Watkins’ consensual and legal relationships with faculty members in the WCSD. Watkins says in his lawsuit that these exes “told salacious tales and unverified lies to police out of spite.”
Watkins also alleges that the school district “attempted to bully” fellow faculty members to keep them from speaking out on Watkins’ behalf. Watkins gives an example of one colleague, who was allegedly told to “lose” his number and had his job threatened so that he would not support Watkins.
“If the police department and school district did not willfully ignore the exculpatory evidence or obstruct the investigation, there would have been no probable cause to arrest and charge Watkins,” Watkins says in his lawsuit. “Instead, an innocent Black man was forced to hire a criminal defense attorney and incur thousands of dollars in legal fees to reconstruct a timeline from the same evidence the police department already had in its possession but willfully ignored. Had the police department performed its duties and the school district protected his due process rights, they would have discovered that it was impossible for the alleged crime to have occurred in the time, place and manner alleged. It was an injustice. An innocent subjected to public humiliation and financial ruin all because of personal animosity and a reckless and malicious investigation. This lawsuit is a step towards justice.”
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