HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A national police organization has joined the arguments in support of former Huntsville Police Department Officer William Darby, who was convicted of murder for the 2018 on-duty shooting death of Jeffery Parker. Parker had called 911 to report that he was feeling suicidal.
The Fraternal Order of Police, which claims more than 350,000 members, told an appeals court Monday the trial judge made an error that should reverse Darby’s murder conviction. They have filed an amicus brief in support of Darby.
Darby is appealing his murder conviction to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.
The filing, obtained by News 19, argues that when it comes to the use of deadly force, law enforcement should be held to a different standard, given the dangers they face, than someone who is not in law enforcement.
It also argues Circuit Judge Donna Pate made an error in jury instructions by rejecting Darby’s request for instructions saying an officer is justified in using deadly force when a person refuses his commands to drop a gun, as Parker did, and if that officer perceives an imminent threat to himself given all the circumstances.
The FOP also compalins that Judge Pate also rejected Darby’s request to tell jurors that the use of force must be objectively reasonable from the persepctive of a resonable officer in a split second decision situation.
Fraternal Order of Police filed their brief in December. It also cites four other states where convictions of officers in use of force cases were reversed on appeal on jury instruction grounds. They point out Alabama does not have an officer use of force law, separate from an average citizen.
However, prosecutors have argued Darby faced no imminent threat and shot Parker within about 11 seconds of entering his house.
After several extensions, Darby’s appeal brief is due February 1, 2022.