The Huntsville City Council will pay the legal expenses for a Huntsville Police Officer Indicted with murder.
They council voted Thursday night in a 4-0 vote to use $75,000 towards Officer William Darby’s legal expenses. Councilman Will Culver is the only member of the council to abstain from a vote.
It was Friday, August 3rd we learned Officer Darby had been indicted for murder by a grand jury. According to court documents, William Darby was charged with the murder of Jeffery Louis Parker. The murder charge stems from an incident that happened back in April.
Officer Darby's indictment was announced by Madison County District Attorney Robert Broussard after the case was brought before a grand jury.
William Darby was booked on Friday, August 3rd and released the same day on a $20,000 bond. The Huntsville Police Department told us Darby is still employed with the department. He is on paid administrative leave until the criminal case against him is complete.
A gag order was issued in the case by a judge, meaning no one is allowed to talk outside the courtroom about the case.
People in Huntsville have mixed reactions about the cities decision to pay for Darby's legal fees, but only people not happy with the decision would go on the record with us.
"I don't think that's right. We have so much more to do with that money," said Jeffery Johnson.
Marcus Green of Huntsville is not a fan of the decision, because the city would not do that for him.
"If had been me did it then will they take out money for me," said Green.
Huntsville City Councilman Bill Kling said the council would not consider covering the costs of the Parker family lawyer, because Parker was not a city employee.
For Kling, the decision to support paying for Darby's legal fees hinges on him being initially cleared of all wrong doing by the police department.
"It was a city employee who had to make a very close decision and we don't know all of the details, whether his life was in danger, but I think the city council made the right decision," said Kling.
Mayor Tommy Battle agrees with that sentiment, "we need to back him. We don't need to put a dollar tag on him. We need to back him," said Battle.
Councilman Will Culver did not vote on the resolution even though he fully supports police.
He said this vote could open up a can of worms.
He would would like to see other policies in place to handle situations like this.
"If there would have been an insurance policy that would cover a police officers liability then that could be something that once they are hired in they enroll in that plan. Maybe we the city pay half of that for them just like we do insurance," said Culver.
Johnson would feel more comfortable with his tax dollars paying for darby's defense if he had more information.
"Lets look at the video, so we can all have a good perspective of what it is. Lets see that before I pay our money. Lets see the video before we pay our money," said Johnson.
The Huntsville Police Department's policy is to not release any body camera video, because it is considered investigative materials.
If the legal fees exceed $75,000 the city council can vote to pay even more.