Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Sheriff Matthew L. Wann

Jackson County Sheriff's Office, Alabama

End of Watch Tuesday, May 3, 1932

Leave a Reflection

Reflections for Sheriff Matthew L. Wann

Sheriff Wann: You epitomize what all peace officers should aspire to. Despite the obvious dangers/risks/social beliefs of that era, which conflicted with the law, you stood tall for justice and preserved the right of those young people to receive a trial. Your disregard for your own safety and refusal to go-along to get-along reflects the highest moral and ethical standards of our profession and for that you deserve our sincere respect and humble thanks.

Asst. Sheriff Jim Lopey (ret)
Washoe County Sheriff (Reno, Nv) and NVDPS

May 3, 2021

October 27, 2010 - "Scottsboro Stories" - Sheriff Matt Wann, a brave man and the untold story, secrets and questions, the story of a murder.
Link :

Garry Morgan
U.S. AMEDD, Retired; D.O.D Race Relations E.O. Specialist, Retired,

October 11, 2018

I read about Sheriff Wann on the Scottsboro Boys Wikipedia page. I was compelled to create a Wikipedia page about this brave and moral officer. It was the least I could do to further the memory of this great man..
Please add more details to this page to improve it (& reduce the chances of it being deleted because it lacks adequate content). Here it is:

Aman Zaidi (not an officer)

October 1, 2018

I only recently learned about the heroic acts of this great man. Unlike the others of his era, he stood up to the clan to defend the young black youth falsely accused of crime which i am sure led to his murder. His service will never be forgotten and his story should be known so it can be an inspiration to everyone.

not a cop

June 18, 2018

I am a native of Scottsboro, grew up knowing Billy Jack and Robert Wann, both of whom were older than I. I am convinced that Sheriff Wann was the native HERO relatedto the first trial, bravely averting even an attempt at a lynching. I think his brave act let to his murder, and cannot remember anyone ever having been arrested, leading me to wonder if the perpetrator(s) was/were were Klan related.

Rev. Dr. James K. Thompson

April 5, 2017

I am a great great niece of Sheriff Matt Wann! I recently found out about this hero. I would love to get to know some of my relatives.

Olivia Wann

May 27, 2016

I recently found out about my great great uncle Matt. I am the great grandson of Albert Lawrence Wann. I am extremely proud of the courage it took to stand against an entire town to uphold justice

Lawrence Wann Morris
Great great nephew

January 25, 2016

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 81rst anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer who was murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Time never diminishes respect. Your memory will always be honored and revered.

Rest In Peace.

Phyllis Loya
Mom of fallen California Officer Larry Lasater, Pittsburg PD, eow 4/24/05

May 9, 2013

I first heard about Sheriff Wann several years ago while reading about the Scottsboro case. What he did that day to save the lives of these boys really stuck with me. Glad to now know his name. I'm a black man who grew up in Alabama in the '50s and '60 and frankly I was astonished by the incredibly corageous stand he took and from that same Southern perspective, I'm not surprised that he was "murdered" not very long afterward. I would like to know more about him. God bless him and his desendants.


January 16, 2012

Rest in peace. Your sacrifice is not forgotten.

Sgt. William Wann
Sacramento Police Department

December 29, 2008



May 5, 2008

Sheriff Wann~

While attending POST mandate school in GA, the students were assigned a case law to study and present to the class with a summary of how that case impacts law enforcement today. Chief Manson (who relocated from AZ) was assigned Powell v. AL (1932)... a case law which evolved from the April 1931 trials of the "Scottsboro Boys".

During his presentation, Chief Manson pointed out that a lynch mob had gathered outside the Scottsboro jail where the boys were being held and that the deputies on duty were going to allow the mob to hang the boys before trial. Chief Manson then paid particular attention in telling how the lynching was avoided when the sheriff intervened by calling the governor who, in turn, called the National Guard to protect the jail and its prisoners for the remainder of the proceedings. Chief Manson proudly described that sheriff as a "brave man who stood in the face of adversity and defied common perception of how this situation should be handled." However, that sheriff could not be named... no doubt due to his defiance.

In believing that a man who changed history should never remain nameless, I did a little research. My research led me to you. Sheriff Wann, you are "that sheriff". Because of you, the lives of (9) young men were spared that day.

Unfortunately, your death came just (14) days before the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Powell v. AL. On November 7, 1932, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the defendants had been denied the right to counsel, which violated their right to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. The cases were then remanded to the lower court.

Although their lives were not always easy and the specifics of the 1931 trials were argued for many years to come, it was because of you that the "Scottsboro Boys" had many more years to spend with their families. Eventually, after years of court appeals and trials through the persistence of attorney Samuel Leibowitz, several of the "Scottsboro Boys" were paroled or pardoned. The last of the "Boys" died in 1989... 58 years after they had been arrested for a crime they had not committed and were saved from a lynch mob by a sheriff who did what was right rather than what he "should".

Thank you, Sheriff.

"Courage is a quality so necessary for maintaining virtue, that it is always respected, even when it is associated with vice." ~Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

Dep R.D. Fernandez
Bryan County Sheriff's Department, GA

October 2, 2007

"The Badge"
He starts his shift each day
To respond to calls unknown.
He drives a marked patrol car.
A police officer he is known.
He's paid by the citizens' taxes
To make it safe on the streets.
But he usually has a second job
'Cause a waitress has his salary beat.
Now he doesn't know a holiday
'Cause he works all year round.
And when Thanksgiving and Christmas finally arrive
At his home he cannot be found.
He's cursed and assaulted often,
The one whos blood runs blue.
He seldom ever gets a thanks,
To some he's just a fool.
His friends are always other cops
'Cause people just don't understand
That underneath his badge and gun,
He's just another man.
He knows there might not be a tomorrow
In this world of drugs and crime.
And he gets so mad at the court system
'Cause the crooks don't get any time.
And each day when he leaves for work,
He prays to God above.
Please bring me home after my shift
So I can see the ones I love.
But tonight he stops a speeding car,
He's alone down this ole' highway.
It's just a little traffic infraction.
He does it everyday.
Well, he walks up to the driver's window,
And his badge is shining bright.
He asked the guy for a driver's license,
When a shot rang through the night.
Yes, the bullet hit its mark,
Striking the officer in the chest.
But the Department's budget didn't buy
Each officer a bullet-proof vest.
So he lay on the ground bleeding.
His blood wasn't blue - His blood was red.
And briefly he thought of his loved ones
'Cause in a moment the officer was dead.
In the news they told the story
Of how this officer had died.
And some who listened cared less,
But those who loved him cried.
Well, they buried him in uniform
With his badge pinned on his chest.
He even had his revolver,
He died doing his best.
Written By:
David L. Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Department
Columbia, South Carolina
Used with Special Permission of the Author
Copyright © 1999 - All Rights Reserved
and may not be duplicated without permission

Investigator David L Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Dept., Columbia, SC

July 11, 2007

As we approach the anniversary of his death, we pause to honor and remember Sheriff Wann and acknowledge the ultimate sacrifice he paid protecting citizens of his county.

May he never be forgotten

Major D.W. Warren
Montgomery Police Dept. - Montgomery, AL

May 1, 2007

Rest in Peace, Sheriff Wann. Your sacrifice is not forgotten.

Officer 11169

October 23, 2006

Wish I could have met my Grandfather. He did his job, even if it meant great peril for him.

Billy Wann

April 28, 2006

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