Huntsville Citizens Advisory Council to give report Thursday on 2020 protests

Huntsville Citizens Advisory Council to give report on 2020 protests Thursday

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - It has been 10 months since a protest against police brutality in downtown Huntsville ended in tear gas and rubber bullets.

On April 22 at 5:30 p.m., the Huntsville Police Citizens Advisory Council will be releasing its findings and recommendations for the police department. Time for public comment is expected following the release.

“I read somewhere that you can get a leaf blower and blow the pepper spray gas back at them. You see the conversation, they’re having a conversation about how to defeat police officers,” Chief Mark McMurray said in June of 2020.

On June 18, 2020, Huntsville Police Chief Mark McMurray spent hours defending how his officers responded to protesters in downtown Huntsville. Some say the officers’ response was uncalled for.

“They were given information that they didn’t vet properly. They took that information and created a fear-mongering event here in the city, of our very own citizens, who were local. Who they said were not from the city,” community member and activist Remus Bowden said.

Chief Mark McMurray has said officers gave ample warning, telling protesters to leave before using the irritants.

“Some very difficult decisions. But they had to be made to protect the citizens of Huntsville and the city,” McMurray said.

Since then, members of the Huntsville police citizens advisory council have been combing through over 400 hours of video captured those nights. City Councilmember Bill Kling says he’s expecting the group’s report at Thursday’s meeting to be a lengthy one.

“Just know that there’s going to be good recommendations and I don’t think we’d go through this process unless we were very serious about making positive changes in the police department,” Kling said.

Bowden says he hopes the advisory council is objective in their report and wants Chief Mark McMurray to step down.

“The chief needs to resign, he needs to go, personally. Because he’s in charge of it. In other cities where this happened, the chief was gone. He resigned,” Bowden said.

WAFF 48 will be there to bring you a full report.

Copyright 2021 WAFF. All rights reserved.