ATLANTA (WAOK)-Almost 5 years after 92 year old Kathryn Johnston was killed in a botched drug raid by Atlanta Police, the man who was the spokesperson for the family is suing the estate. Civil Rights Activist Rev. Markel Hutchins says he had a verbal agreement that the family would pay him 10 percent of the proceeds from the lawsuit. Hutchins represented the family in media interviews and in negotiati0ns with the police department that eventually lead to a $4.9 million dollar settlement.
Hutchins issued this statement:
“In the aftermath of the tragic death of Mrs. Kathryn Johnston and specifically at the request of her estate’s administrator Mrs. Sarah Dozier and her attorneys at The Cochran Firm, from the very evening that Mrs. Johnston was killed until the very day the lawsuit against the City of Atlanta settled, I served as the family and estate’s spokesperson, strategist, advisor and consultant with a clear understanding that I would be compensated with a “tithe” or “tenth” of whatever amount was recovered. My staff and I holistically managed the public and private efforts that made the significant settlement possible and yielded Mrs. Johnston’s heirs millions of dollars. I literally risked my own safety and security to advance the cause of the Estate of Kathryn Johnston and expended considerable resources of my own with ABSOLUTELY NO remuneration or even reimbursement to date.
For the past 7 years my professional consulting firm has provided various clients with expert services in several areas. In this case, I was not merely an interested activist – I was an engaged consultant. The Johnston family, the Cochran Firm and I enjoyed a valued, trusted and mutually respectful relationship yet, I have not spoken to either of them since they received the money despite my every diligent, diplomatic effort to resolve this matter privately. I lived up to my personal and contractual commitment to them and they must do likewise. I have entrusted my attorneys to pursue fairness, justice and equity for me as aggressively as I pursued those things for the late Mrs. Johnston and her estate.
Jesus teaches in the 10th chapter of Luke, “a servant (or laborer) is worthy of his wages.” I am proud of the good works we did in this case that benefited our city, state and nation and blessed the Johnston family and, like every other person that does a job, I deserve to be compensated.”
Johnston was gunned down by officers in her home in 2006 when three members of a police drug squad kicked in the door. An FBI investigation led five officers to plead guilty for their roles in the shooting.
Neither Mrs. Dozier nor her attorneys have commented on the lawsuit.