Critics call on Huntsville Mayor, Police Chief to renounce statements about convicted officer; Mayor amends previous statement

Mayor Battle: “I respect the decision of the jury. I respect Officer Darby’s right to appeal.”
Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 9:08 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The Rosa Parks Day Committee spoke out Thursday against recent statements regarding the conviction of Officer William Darby.

State Representatives Anthony Daniels and Laura Hall were in attendance as the committee called on Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and Huntsville Police Chief Mark McMurray to renounce their previous statements.

The following was included in the event press release:

“As we applaud Madison County DA Rob Broussard for his prosecution of Officer Darby, we call on Mayor Battle and Chief McMurray to renounce their affirmation of Officer Darby’s actions. And if they refuse, we join with the other individuals and organizations who urge them to resign.”

Mayor Battle’s original statement following the conviction of Officer Darby:

“While I respect the jury’s opinion, I disagree with the verdict. We recognize this was a hard case with a lot of technical information to process. Officer Darby followed the appropriate safety protocols in his response on the scene. He was doing what he was trained to do in the line of duty. Fortunately, Officer Darby has the same appeal rights as any other citizen and is entitled to exercise those rights.”

Chief McMurray’s original statement following the conviction of Officer Darby:

“We are in the first stages of shock. While we thank the jury for their service in this difficult case, I do not believe Officer Darby is a murderer. Officers are forced to make split-second decisions every day, and Officer Darby believed his life and the lives of other officers were in danger. Any situation that involves a loss of life is tragic. Our hearts go out to everyone involved.”

Following Thursday’s press conference, Mayor Tommy Battle amended his previous statement.

The amendment stated: “I respect the decision of the jury. I respect Officer Darby’s right to appeal.”

The Huntsville Police Department issued the following statement: “The Judge reminded all parties yesterday that the gag order remains in place. We cannot speak further about Mr. Darby’s case.”

WAFF’s Stefante Randall will have more following the event in newscasts throughout the day on Thursday.

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