Huntsville officer investigated after promoting fundraiser for former HPD cop convicted of murder

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A Huntsville Police Department officer is under investigation after sending an email to the entire department about how to participate in a fundraiser for William Darby, the former officer convicted of murder.

According to News 19’s news partners AL.com, the email described a fundraiser to raise money for Darby’s legal expenses through the sale of shirts that have “#STANDWITHDARBY” printed on them.

The fundraiser is organized by Lisa Mearkle, AL.com reported, who runs the Blue Justice Project.

Mearkle is a former police officer who was acquitted of murder in the shooting of an unarmed man in Hummelstown, Penn., in February 2015. According to its Facebook page, the Blue Justice Society’s mission is “to assist Law Enforcement Officers and their family members during difficult times.”

In a statement to News 19, Huntsville Police Chief Mark McMurray acknowledged that the unauthorized email went out to Huntsville Police Department employees Tuesday morning. According to McMurray, the department’s Internal Affairs division asked the officer to recall the email. Internal Affairs is investigating, he said.

“There is no organized effort within the police department to fundraise or otherwise for William Darby,” McMurray’s statement read. “The attachment within the email and the information presented on it are not affiliated with the Huntsville Police Department.”

Darby was convicted in May sentenced last month to 25 years in prison for shooting and killing Jeffery Parker at his home in April 2018.

The city of Huntsville paid $125,000 in legal fees for Darby’s defense.

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