Former Dallas County sheriff dies at 80

SELMA, Ala. (AP) - Former Dallas County Sheriff W.D. "Cotton" Nichols, who helped protect the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights protests in Selma in the 1960s, has died.

Nichols, who was 80, died at his home Saturday after a lengthy illness. His funeral was set for 3 p.m. Monday at Lawrence Brown-Service Funeral Home in Selma.

Nichols' law enforcement career covered 37 years.

Dallas County Sheriff Harris Huffman said the death of Nichols closes out an era. He said Nichols was "one of a kind," a man who didn't mince words when it came to law enforcement.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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