HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The family of Jeffery Parker spoke outside of the Madison County Courthouse Friday afternoon after the conviction of Huntsville police officer William Darby.
Darby was convicted of killing Jeffery Parker, 49, at his home on Deramus Avenue in April 2018. Darby shot Parker as he sat in his home with a gun to his head, talking to another Huntsville police officer, Genisha Pegues. Parker had called 911 and told a dispatcher he planned to shoot himself.
Parker’s brother Bill Parker gave his and his families thanks to the DA for pursuing the charges against Darby. He said he realizes it wasn’t an easy decision for them to make but it was the right decision.
He also said that he hopes his brother’s death results in better police response when it comes to mental health calls.
Jeffery Parker’s best friend from high school, Bill Parks, described Parker as a very kind soul who had his demons, just like everyone else in the world.
“Jeff was a very smart guy, almost a Renaissance man. He loved music. He could fix almost anything you asked him to do. He just asked for help. He wanted help and he ended up in a situation where he asked for help and it ended up terribly.” Parks said.
Martin Weinberg, Parker family Attorney, spoke about the civil suit that was filed over a year ago but has been stayed until the criminal proceedings were over. He said that even with the appeal process he hopes the civil case will move forward.
Weinberg also spoke about the City of Huntsville and some officials’ responses to the verdict. “We’ve seen some remarks made by the mayor and the police chief. We’re very saddened by that. They haven’t respected what the jury has done and the rule of law in this case.”
Weinberg, Bill Parker, and Parks all spoke about how they hope that Parker’s death would lead to changes in Huntsville Police Department’s policies and procedures when it comes to dealing with people going through mental health crises.
“I can’t say we’re happy, we’re relieved,” said Weinberg, “It’s gone on for three years and it’s over. Justice is complicated and it’s not something that going to come overnight. It’s going to be a long process for the family still.”
Bill Parker ended the news conference by saying he wished the city would accept responsibility and stop trying to avoid it.
The full news conference can be watched below: