An Alabama police chief brought Rep. John Lewis to tears Saturday, apologizing to the noted civil rights leader for failing to protect the Freedom Riders during a trip to Montgomery in 1961.Lewis and fellow civil rights activists were beaten by a mob after arriving at Montgomery's Greyhound station in May, 1961.On Saturday at ceremony at First Baptist Church, the city's current police chief, Kevin Murphy, apologized to Lewis and offered him his badge in a gesture of reconciliation, telling the longtime Georgia congressman that Montgomery police had "enforced unjust laws" in failing to protect the Freedom Riders more than five decades ago.
Lewis, who was arrested during civil rights protests in cities across the south, said it was the first time a police chief had apologized to him.
Alabama police chief apologizes to Freedom Rider congressman - U.S. News