Event to honor Madison officers involved in controversial 2019 fatal shooting now on hold

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MADISON, Ala. – An award ceremony to honor the officers involved in a fatal shooting outside Planet Fitness in October 2019 has been postponed, according to Madison officials.

Our news partner AL.com reported Sunday afternoon that a ceremony for the officers was scheduled to be held Tuesday afternoon at City Hall.

In a statement released Sunday night, Madison Police Chief David Jernigan said he and Mayor Paul Finley decided “timing isn’t optimal” for the event to take place.

Dana Fletcher was fatally shot outside Planet Fitness on Highway 72 after police were called to investigate a call about a man and woman recording and asking people in the gym questions. Madison County investigators said Fletcher had a gun and pointed it at officers before he was shot.

In the statement, Jernigan said that the officers involved displayed “bravery” when they responded to Planet Fitness. The statement did not say when the city plans to reschedule the award ceremony.

Following Fletcher’s death, protests were held in the community as the family called for the release of body camera footage.

Over the past several months, the Fletcher family says they have filed several formal and informal requests to view the body camera footage which were denied. The Fletcher family hired attorney Benjamin Crump to represent them after the shooting last October. Crump is also representing the family of George Floyd, the man whose death sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and racism.

In November 2019, Madison County District Attorney Robert Broussard said a review of evidence in the case, including surveillance video from businesses and police body cameras, indicated that police actions were justified. During the press conference, reporters were shown still images from the body camera footage, but not the video in its entirety.

In June, city officials told WHNT News 19 they can’t speak on the body camera footage due to pending litigation.

You can read Madison Police Chief David Jernigan’s complete statement below:

“Following reports of an officer ceremony last week, Mayor Finley and I immediately decided timing is not optimal, and we have put the ceremony on hold. The officers involved in this incident displayed bravery in defending themselves, other officers and the public at Planet Fitness last fall which was was validated following the Madison County District Attorney’s official report presented to the community on November 15, 2019. This decision was made Friday afternoon at 3:30pm after discussions with Mayor Finley, however original reporting was not followed up.”

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