Photo credits: The Southern Courier
On January 27, 1967, two Jefferson County, Alabama sheriff’s deputies converged on the house of Robert Lacey, a Black father with six children.
Lacey’s residence was visited by deputies enforcing a statute, which required him to deliver his family’s dog to the vet. Mr. Lacey was then attacked by the deputies, who eventually murdered him. According to local newspaper reports published around that time, Laceys’ dog purportedly bit a local child. Lacey’s family was advised by the municipal health authority to bring in the dog so that it could be tested for rabies.
Lacey’s family, unfortunately, did not possess a vehicle and hence had no way of transporting the animal. Mr. Lacey opened the door after getting out of the shower after the deputies knocked. The officers directed him to change clothes and accompany them. Lacey inquired as to why and suggested that the authorities simply remove the dog. The deputies objected to Lacey’s suggestion.
As Lacey dressed in accordance with the command, a pistol he kept in his drawer dropped to the floor. In response, deputies pushed Lacey against the wall and immediately started handcuffing him. Lacey volunteered to walk to the police vehicle on his own will, to which one of the lawmen allegedly responded, “Boy, you gon’ leave here with handcuffs on, dead or alive.”
Lacey was a tall heavyweight. While attempting to grapple him, one of the deputies collapsed to the ground. Lacey was shot in the leg by the other deputy. Lacey allegedly rushed at them prior to the second shot being fired, the deputies subsequently stated. Lacey’s family members, on the other hand, maintained that he slumped to the ground before the deputy fired a second shot at him “between the eyes.”
The local authorities advised neighbors who raced to Lacey’s residence after the shooting to relocate his corpse before the coroner came. Lacey was the second Black man to be slain by Jefferson County law enforcement officers in nine days around that time.
Lacey’s killing was one of 10 police enforcement-sanctioned murders, which targeted Black males in Birmingham, Alabama between 1966 and 1967.