MADISON, Ala. – Madison Police Chief Larry Muncey says its time to clear the air. The chief and his wife sat down Thursday afternoon for an exclusive interview with WHNT News 19.
We talked with him and his wife exclusively for more than an hour about his federal contempt of court conviction, his pending appeal, and what’s possibly down the road for him and his family.
Chief Muncey told us, "I have a lot of friends who keep asking, 'You know, Larry, I support you. But I really don't know what happened, but I support you.' So I thought it was important to get the message out exactly what did happen."
Larry Muncey and his wife, Freda, believe it's time to put everything out there and let people make their own decisions about his contempt of federal court conviction, his appeal, and his future as Madison's police chief.
Chief Larry Muncey was found in contempt of court in April when a judge said he had contact with police witnesses during the first Eric Parker civil rights trial in September. Muncey was on the witness list and court rules bar contact between witnesses while a case is ongoing.
In an email sent to some residents and community leaders and anonymously to WHNT News 19, Muncey says he wants to continue to lead Madison Police, but he's going to need their help.
The Muncey's asked for advice Thursday night in a private meeting at their church. About 30 people attended. The meeting was described as positive and extremely in supportive. The Munceys also had questions for the group.
"What would you like to see us do? Would you like for us to stay? Would you like for us to fight? What do you want? And then help us plan on how to go forward. What do you recommend?" Freda Muncey told us she would be asking the group.
Jerry Hayes asked Freda if the meeting was an attempt to establish a "Larry Muncey legal defense fund."
Freda answered,"No not really on our part."
She said one of their daughters has set up a Paypal account to help with legal fees associated with the appeal.
The chief said he's not relying on that, though. "I'm not asking and I don't want anything. That is something my daughter set up. You know, right now I've been the king of eBay and Craigslist selling stuff trying to raise enough money."
The appeal process could cost tens of thousands of dollars and it's not clear yet whether that will have to come out of the out the Munceys' pockets or taxpayers'. Madison City Council has not decided whether to approve funding the legal costs of Muncey's appeal.
"I have to fight this appeal because it's the right thing to do. I did not know that I could not read those blogs. I did not intend to violate anything. I was just trying to do my job."
A job he may or may not be able to keep. Mayor Troy Trulock has placed Muncey on administrative leave, pending the conclusion of the appeal.
What is certain is the past eight months have taken its toll on Muncey and his family.
"This situation has taken years off of our life. I know that it comes with the job, and I accept that, but what I did not count on was the impact it would have on my family," Larry Muncey said.
"This is unfamiliar territory to us. And it's very hurtful to be charged with something that you're really not guilty of," Freda Muncey said.
This is just a small look at the full interview with Madison Police Chief Larry Muncey and his wife, Freda. We will bring you much more on this interview in the days to come.