Some in community call for accountability after Huntsville Police officer's murder conviction

Several people called for the police chief and mayor to resign.

Posted: May 13, 2021 11:15 PM
Updated: May 14, 2021 9:43 AM

It was a heated city council meeting Thursday night as people in the community called for accountability and a change in leadership. This comes after a Huntsville police officer William Darby was convicted of murder and then placed on paid administrative leave.

"I feel betrayed by a city that I have loved and I believed in and I have tried so, so hard to serve," one person said.

"After seeing your reactions and reading your statements about the murder conviction of Darby, I now know you do not care about my life or others who struggle with mental health," another added.

"You don't care about mental health. Your solution to mental health is to shoot them and kill them," one man said.

Betrayed, hurt, devastated, broken trust—those are some of the words people in the meeting used when describing this situation.

Mayor Tommy Battle did not address the verdict of Officer Darby during the meeting, and only one member of the city council actually spoke on the case.

Councilman Devyn Keith said he wants to be accountable. He admitted he made a mistake by voting to approve $125,000 for Darby’s defense without watching the body camera footage or having all the facts.

However, people at meeting were more upset by the city’s decision to keep Darby on the pay roll. The director of human resources says this is a normal and that all city employees are entitled to the same due process, but several disagree saying due process was given during the trial.

"We're at a right to work state acting like you can't fire a convicted murder is either incompetence or complicity," one person said.

The city attorney says their policies and procedures are passed by ordinance meaning it's technically a law. So, they must follow their own guidelines and place Darby on paid leave.

However, that brings another question as to why it wasn't done sooner like when Darby was first indicted. The city attorney said he's not sure how the city is expected to have a disciplinary hearing on a case and trial that hadn't happened yet.

Several people at the meeting also called for the police chief and mayor to resign.

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