Madison mayor apologizes over ‘ill-timed’ plan to honor officers in Dana Fletcher shooting death

Madison
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MADISON, Ala. – A now-canceled ceremony to honor Madison police officers who were involved in a deadly confrontation in October 2019 was “ill advised and ill-timed,” Madison Mayor Paul Finley said Monday.

Finley said the ceremony was cancelled Friday for the officers involved in the shooting of Dana Fletcher, and the information about the cancellation was sent out in an internal email.

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 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 were justified in shooting Fletcher.

Finley said in a statement Monday that he was asked by an AL.com reporter Friday about an email from Police Chief David Jernigan concerning the in-house ceremony. Finley said he was aware of the awards “but not of the magnitude the ceremony mentioned in the email.”

“Upon leaving I immediately investigated what I had learned and in turn realized the difference
in what I had expected and what was planned,” Finley’s statement read.

Finley said he was not contacted by the reporter again and didn’t see reason to send anything out. He said he asked Jernigan to respond after an AL.com article about the ceremony Sunday, and Jernigan issued a statement saying he and Finley determined timing for the ceremony was “not optimal.”

“My responsibility as Mayor is to manage better,” Finley said. “We were ill advised and ill-timed and I apologize to our community.”

Finley said Fletcher’s family has filed three claims against the city, each for $100 million. He said the city stands by the district attorney’s findings in the case.

Finley’s complete statement is below:

First, as Mayor it is always my responsibility to manage City Hall and I shoulder that responsibility.

“On Friday I was approached by an AL.com reporter after our noon COVID update and asked
about an email that Chief Jernigan had sent out Thursday afternoon regarding an in-house
ceremony on Tuesday concerning the above mentioned awards. I explained I was aware of
the awards but not of the magnitude the ceremony mentioned in the email.

“Upon leaving I immediately investigated what I had learned and in turn realized the difference
in what I had expected and what was planned. We immediately canceled the ceremony with
Chief sending out another internal email at 3:30 Friday afternoon.

“I was not contacted by the Al.com reporter again and thus, did not see any reason to send
anything out. As with all of you, I then read the article Sunday afternoon and asked Chief to
respond, which he did Sunday night.

“My responsibility as Mayor is to manage better. We were ill advised and ill-timed and I
apologize to our community.

“Each time an individual or group comes to see me concerning the Dana Fletcher situation
looking for more information we ask them if they have viewed the full District Attorney’s out
brief on November 15th. They presented that our officers acted in self-defense and show both
still pictures and video. I would ask if you have not taken the time to watch the full press
conference that you please do, you can find it on any of our local medias website. Since that
time the City of Madison has received three Notice of Claims from the Fletcher family, each for
$100,000,000. Thus, the City has and will continue to stand by the District Attorney’s
presentation.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories