Night Policeman William Richard "Billy" Coleman

Night Policeman William Richard "Billy" Coleman

Arab Police Department, Alabama

End of Watch Saturday, August 14, 1943

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William Richard "Billy" Coleman

Night Policeman William Coleman was shot and killed from ambush by members of a family seeking retaliation against him.

Policeman Coleman had encountered one of the family members the previous day when the man was caught driving recklessly through town. The man and three other family members located Policeman Coleman in front of the Arab Billiard Parlor and shot him several times before stealing his service revolver.

Four of the family members were arrested and charged with first-degree murder. The primary suspect was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. He was pardoned in January of 1951. His pardon along with resent others set off an investigation by the Alabama Legislature in what they considered unjust decisions by the pardon and parole board.

Policeman Coleman had served in law enforcement for over 35 years. He had previously served with the Marshall County Sheriff's Office and Guntersville Police Department.


  • Age 72
  • Tour 35 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .32 caliber
  • Offender Paroled in 1951

retaliation, ambush

Most Recent Reflection

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Officer Coleman,
On today, the 80th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Arab. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

August 14, 2023

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