‘By no means a murderer:’ Authorities express different opinions on Huntsville officer’s murder charge

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Respect for the role Huntsville Police Officers play in this community is not in question, but not everyone agrees the actions Officer William Benjamin Darby is accused of taking in April 2018 were justified.

Officer Darby's defense attorney, Robert Tuten, acknowledged his respect for the men and women in blue right after the indictment came down.

"It's a service, a profession, and they're there to help and serve, and help society," Tuten said.

Madison County District Attorney Rob Broussard said he puts police on the same pedestal in his line of work.

"It goes without saying that in my time, as a prosecutor, I've always had the highest regard for the men that put on the badge and do a hard job in this city," Broussard said.

Despite similar feelings on law enforcement as a whole, their reactions to the charge against the officer differ. Broussard said a case like this, where an officer is charged with murder, is unusual.

"I've been here for 30 years, but I've never been at this juncture before," Broussard said. "The fact that we're here discussing this topic is no reflection on the rank and file officers that work for Huntsville Police Department. This case will run the normal course, it will be assigned to a circuit court judge."

The grand jury saw fit to charge Darby with murder, but Chief McMurray stands by his officer, and said he did what his training warranted.

"His training, through the Huntsville Police Department, allowed him and his fellow officers to survive as he rushed bravely, without hesitation, into one of the most volatile and unpredictable situations a police officer may ever encounter," McMurray said. "He is by no means a murderer."

Tuten is representing Darby in his upcoming trial, set for October 29. He said no officer desires this outcome.

"I don't think any police officer gets up, first thing in the morning and puts on their badge and uniform and says, 'I hope I get to kill somebody today,'" Tuten said.

Both the Huntsville Police Department's Incident Review Board and the grand jury saw the body cam footage from the case in question. WHNT News 19 has formally requested the video from the district attorney's office.

We are continuing to ask questions of the Huntsville Police Department and the district attorney's office. Stay with WHNT News 19 as this story continues to unfold.