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Mayor, police chief to decide disciplinary actions for Huntsville Police officer convicted of murder

The city council can impose a greater or lesser degree of discipline, but they cannot review the decision unless Officer Darby appeals it.

Posted: May 17, 2021 6:15 PM
Updated: May 17, 2021 6:53 PM

WAAY 31 analyzed the city of Huntsville's policies and procedures regarding disciplinary hearings.

We learned that it will be up to the mayor and police chief to determine what kind of disciplinary actions Officer William Darby will face after his conviction in the murder of Jeffrey Parker while responding to a call.

However, people in the community have already voiced their lack of trust for them to hold Darby accountable.

"Accountability is non-negotiable," one woman said.

"Huntsville cannot trust its police department to police or to hold itself accountable," another man added.

People in the community are calling for accountability after Darby was placed on paid administrative leave following his murder conviction. The city says this is part of due process to which Darby and other city employees are entitled to, but people are still upset.

"Any other job Darby would be fired without pay, so why is the police different," one man said.

Darby will be on paid leave until after his disciplinary hearing. The hearing will be similar to a trial with opening statements, evidence and testimonies, a rebuttal and closing remarks by both the police chief and Officer Darby.

A local attorney with no personal or financial interest will serve as a hearing officer. They will be responsible for considering all the evidence and testimonies and create a finding of facts.

The mayor or police chief will then determine if those facts are cause for discipline, but both have already publicly voiced their support for Darby.

After Darby's conviction, they both released statements saying they believed Officer Darby followed the appropriate protocols and did what he was trained to do.

"Our city's leadership publicly condoned the murder of a suicidal man Jeffrey Parker. How can you ask us to trust you?" one woman said.

The city council is able to impose a greater or lesser degree of discipline on an employee if the majority of members agree. However, the city says the council will not be able to review the mayor or police chief's decision unless Officer Darby appeals the decision.

People in the community say they are paying close attention to what happens next.

"Your words and actions do have consequences. Y'all may have gotten away with abhorrent behavior in the past, but we are now watching," one woman warned.

Darby is facing suspension for more than 10 working days, demotion or dismissal according to city policies. At this time, it's still unclear when that disciplinary hearing will take place. We do know it will take place within the next month.

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