State reps, civic groups call for Huntsville mayor, police chief to withdraw support of Officer William Darby, the HPD officer convicted of murder

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A Huntsville civic group says two state representatives are among those who will attend a news conference Thursday concerning Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle’s and Huntsville Police Chief Mark McMurray’s support for Officer William Ben Darby, who was convicted of murder last week.

The Rosa Parks Day Committee of Huntsville-Madison County said Wednesday State Reps. Anthony Daniels and Laura Hall will appear at a news conference Thursday in front of City Hall.

The Rosa Parks Day Committee said in a news release that they are calling for Battle and McMurray to renounce their support for Darby or resign.

A Madison County jury found Darby guilty of murder last week in the April 2018 shooting death of Jeffery Parker.

Parker had a gun to his own head and was talking with other officers at his home before Darby arrived and eventually shot Parker.

Darby’s attorneys argued that he followed his training and had to make a split-second decision in shooting Parker. Prosecutors said Darby was the aggressor and escalated the situation to violence when he arrived at Parker’s home.

Huntsville City Council approved spending $125,000 on Darby’s defense in the trial. After the verdict, both Battle and McMurray released statements disagreeing with the jury’s guilty verdict.

“Their statements, which affirm the reckless, unjustified actions of Officer Darby, suggest that Mayor Tommy Battle and Chief Mark McMurray share Officer William Darby’s violent devaluation of Mr. Parker’s life,” the committee said in a news release.

The news conference is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. Thursday. News 19 plans to carry that news conference live online.

Darby is currently free on bond while awaiting sentencing and is on paid administrative leave from the police department.

His attorney has said he plans to appeal.

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