Chief of Police Leonard J. Floyd

Chief of Police Leonard J. Floyd

Boaz Police Department, Alabama

End of Watch Thursday, May 17, 1951

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Leonard J. Floyd

Chief Floyd, Sheriff E.M. Boyles, and Chief Deputy Bennett, of the Marshall County Sheriff's Department, were shot and killed while attempting to serve a warrant at a farmhouse on a man, 40, for assault with intent to kill a neighbor.

As the three and another deputy reached the suspects farmhouse he came out with a rifle, firing rapidly at the officers as they were getting out of their car. All four returned fire killing the suspect. As the suspect fell his 16-year-old son grabbed the rifle. Firing rapidly from the hip he brought down all four lawmen. Chief Floyd and Sheriff Boyles were dead. Chief Deputy Bennett, shot through the left temple, the bullet exiting his right jaw, managed to get the seriously wounded deputy into the car and drove into Boaz, sounding the alarm. Chief Deputy Bennett died in a hospital three hours later.

The boy and two men in the home were arrested and charged with three counts of murder. The wounded deputy said shots not only came from the youth but also from two different windows. Yet charges were dropped against the two men and only the youth was tried. The wife of the dead man, also the youth's mother, said the officers fired first. Over the next two years four trials ended with hung juries. Just as his fifth trial was about to begin, a plea bargain resulted in a 10 year prison sentence. He was paroled on December 24, 1957. His mother spent $27,000.00 on his trials . To this day it has been argued "was it murder or self defense".


  • Age 32
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Rifle; .32 caliber carbine
  • Offender Paroled in 1957

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Rest in peace Chief of Police Floyd.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

April 8, 2023

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