Former police officer fighting rape conviction

Former police officer fighting rape conviction

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A former Albany police officer, convicted and sent to prison for rape in 1977, is still fighting the charges almost 40 years later. At one point in his life, Lavarn Watson was living out his dream as an Albany police officer.

"We had decided that we wanted to be able to help the community as well as anyone else," said Watson.

That all changed when Watson came across a nude couple in the woods in 1977. He says he simply ran them off, but the couple said Watson raped the young woman after locking the young man in his patrol car.

"So when they told me I had a complaint and what happened I told them what happened. After I told him what had happened. They immediately arrested me," said Watson.

He was arrested and thrown in jail with $1,000,000 worth of bonds.

"I was shocked. I was devastated because of the mere factor that I knew that they had no evidence of me raping anyone," said Watson.

Watson fought the charges.

"There was no medical examination," said Watson. "It wasn't anything but my word against her word."

The former police officer tells his story in a new book, Injustices Within Our Justice System. He claims there was a culture of racial discrimination within what was then a mostly white Albany Police Department.

"I think that the rape charges came in response to my fight against racial discriminatory practices within the city," said Watson.

Watson was eventually convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

He lost appeals in the state supreme court and federal appeals court, and has written Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama asking for help to bring his case back before a judge.

"I want it overturned and I want recognition from the police department as well," said Watson.

Recognition and a verdict he says is long overdue.

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