Huntsville attorney says police body cameras can be vital tool in cases

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - A Huntsville police officer now faces murder charges.

It appears the police body camera video is what led the grand jury to charge the officer. A civil rights attorney in Huntsville says body cam video is an added tool, that can protect both victims and officers.

"Not every case is black and white. In fact, most cases involve a lot of grey," attorney Jeremiah Hodges said.

A pressure cooker situation. Three months ago, Huntsville police were called to a home on Deramus Avenue, for what they say was a man with a gun who wanted to kill himself.

"That's a police officer's worst nightmare," Hodges said.

Huntsville police say officer William Darby entered Jeffery Parker's home, told him to put down the gun, then shot and killed him. Darby and two other officers were wearing body cameras.

"You're doing that in real-time. He doesn't have the luxury of playing back the video and thinking, what should I have done?" Hodges said.

WHNT News 19 requested to see the body cam video of what happened in the home. That request was denied.

"I know and have a lot of respect for our district attorney and for him to have taken the kind of step he's taken," Hodges said. "That district attorney believes the conduct is egregious."

An internal investigation found that Darby used appropriate force under the circumstances. But a grand jury looked over the case and indicted Darby for murder.

"Regardless of police officer or private citizen, the district attorney's office has an obligation to prosecute crime. And if a crime occurred, that's the right step," Hodges said.

It appears the next step will be a murder trial set for late October.

Hodges says it's not only police who are buying more cameras. He says vehicle dash cameras are becoming more commonplace as evidence in personal injury cases.