Recent police review questions protest prosecutions

Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Huntsville Police Citizens Advisory Council’s report on early June protests outlined a number of issues with police both nights and offered recommendations for a path forward.

One item was a bit buried beneath the overarching examination of law enforcement tactics and procedures during the events: the basis for several protestor arrests.

On April 16, three North Alabama men stood trial on charges of disorderly conduct. Two of the men were found guilty.

That day, Tyler Webb told News 19 he planned to appeal the court’s decision.

“They insinuated that I somehow intentionally ignored a dispersal order,” he said.

A city prosecutor argued calls for dispersal were made every three to five minutes.

“They did not order us to disperse,” Webb said. “They did not give any clear directions, they did not tell us where we should be going, what we should be doing.”

Despite officer testimony and video evidence presented in court, the HPCAC’s report states none of the video reviewed by its independent counsel verified an announcement to disperse at the intersection of Williams and Lowery, where Webb was arrested.

The HPCAC report states none of the video evidence played in court that day verified dispersal announcements.

Several of the cases against protestors were dismissed prior to the trial, which was also included in the advisory council’s findings.

Webb said he was told by his attorney many of those individuals had no prior record, which he said that’s the basis for his decision.

“I am still going to appeal because I have absolutely nothing on my record,” he said. “I refuse to believe that it’s just and right.”

There is currently no record of Webb filing an appeal.

News 19 reached out to the City of Huntsville for comment on the report’s findings as it relates specifically to the arrests. A spokesperson would only say that city officials planned to discuss the report during the city council work session Wednesday evening.

Huntsville Police Department also referred us to the meeting, where Chief Mark McMurray planned to address the HPCAC’s report.

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