STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Huntsville Police Chief explains, defends department's actions at June 3 protest

Chief Mark McMurray said they used the best method to get the crowd to disperse.

Posted: Jun 18, 2020 10:54 PM
Updated: Jun 19, 2020 7:35 AM

Chief Mark McMurray stood in front of the Huntsville City Council for 3 hours Thursday thoroughly going through what happened both in the days before and during a June 3 protest that followed after a peaceful event hosted by the NAACP ended.

He said he wanted to give clarity to council members and the audience on why law enforcement officials used the methods they did.

“Every one of hundreds of cities around this country, we've looked at about every protest we could, there's a criminal element that comes in and gets infiltrated within," McMurray said.

Bystanders, protesters and criminals were the three types of people McMurray said were seen at protests, and were there on the night of June 3rd.

He said before the June 3rd protest, the department was monitoring social media posts to assess the threat so they could evaluate how the department should respond. He showed the council many tweets and posts he said the department found.

"... they're having a conversation about how to defeat police officers," he said.

McMurray said before the June 3rd protest, the department identified many cars with out of state license plates in downtown Huntsville. He says they also identified what he called 'Antifa Sympathizers,' people who agree with anti-police ideals and want to disturb peaceful protest. He said they identified many of these people in the crowd June 3rd.

"You can say chief you don't know what you're talking about, Antifa wasn't here, everything about Antifa was here on this event on the back side of the event, not on the front side on the back side," he said.

McMurray says police tried for more than an hour to disperse the crowd with verbal warnings and noises, but when the crowd didn't disperse he says that is when they used tear gas. He also showed videos of people making verbal threats to officers and throwing fireworks toward them.

"I had every authority and right to disperse that crowd because of the criminal intent that was showing up ready to fight police officers," he said.

Mayor Tommy Battle said he hopes the public comments last week, and the chief's explanation this week bring clarity to the situation and unify the community.

"Let me be completely clear, there are no winners, there have been no winners out of these two events. our law enforcement officers would rather of been anywhere, but they served an oath to serve and protect and they felt like they were serving and protecting," Battle said.

After the chiefs presentation,the council asked him some of their own questions as well as questions people in the community emailed them. During next Thursday's meeting, the council will vote on a resolution to have a citizens review board do it's own probe of what happened on the night of June 3rd.

Huntsville
Few Clouds
76° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 76°
Florence
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 76°
Fayetteville
Few Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 72°
Decatur
Few Clouds
76° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 76°
Scottsboro
Broken Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 73°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 41362

Reported Deaths: 983
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4802152
Montgomery3947103
Mobile3904134
Tuscaloosa218842
Marshall168010
Lee130237
Madison12717
Shelby117623
Morgan10475
Walker90524
Franklin87814
Dallas8689
Elmore86414
Baldwin8289
Etowah70713
DeKalb6945
Butler62328
Chambers61227
Tallapoosa58369
Autauga56012
Russell5190
Unassigned50323
Lauderdale4736
Limestone4660
Lowndes46321
Houston4614
Cullman4354
Pike4175
Colbert3836
Coffee3702
Bullock3679
St. Clair3472
Barbour3452
Covington3437
Escambia3326
Calhoun3225
Hale30621
Marengo30011
Talladega3007
Wilcox2898
Sumter28412
Clarke2726
Dale2680
Jackson2632
Winston2463
Monroe2312
Chilton2282
Blount2261
Pickens2226
Marion21413
Randolph2019
Conecuh1977
Choctaw19512
Bibb1861
Greene1838
Macon1819
Perry1621
Henry1313
Crenshaw1253
Lawrence1050
Washington1047
Cherokee857
Geneva780
Lamar751
Fayette671
Clay622
Coosa581
Cleburne361
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 48712

Reported Deaths: 633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby11145197
Davidson10450118
Rutherford285435
Hamilton266533
Sumner155952
Trousdale14945
Williamson122614
Knox10865
Out of TN10657
Wilson89117
Putnam8537
Robertson81511
Sevier7683
Lake6910
Bradley6623
Tipton6335
Bledsoe6181
Unassigned5811
Bedford5455
Montgomery5347
Macon4363
Maury3263
Hardeman3255
Hamblen3144
Fayette3102
Madison2802
Loudon2771
Rhea2760
Dyer2401
McMinn22718
Cheatham2251
Blount2123
Dickson2010
Cumberland1784
Lawrence1526
Washington1420
Lauderdale1393
Monroe1376
Jefferson1250
Gibson1211
Coffee1170
Anderson1162
Obion1132
Smith1111
Sullivan1082
Hardin1047
Greene952
Haywood922
Cocke900
Franklin823
Wayne820
Marshall811
Hickman800
Warren720
Marion714
White703
McNairy680
Weakley631
Lincoln610
DeKalb600
Grundy591
Overton591
Roane590
Hawkins572
Carter561
Giles561
Unicoi550
Henry450
Campbell441
Carroll441
Henderson440
Polk440
Claiborne410
Grainger400
Johnson390
Cannon360
Crockett343
Meigs330
Perry330
Sequatchie330
Chester300
Humphreys271
Jackson260
Morgan251
Stewart230
Decatur220
Fentress220
Scott180
Clay160
Union160
Houston140
Benton131
Moore120
Van Buren80
Lewis60
Pickett60
Hancock30

 

 

Community Events