Rosa Parks Day Committee calls for Mayor Battle’s resignation again

Updated: May. 19, 2021 at 10:50 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A Huntsville civil rights group is calling for the resignation of Mayor Tommy Battle and Police Chief Mark McMurray, again.

This comes after both men publicly supported Huntsville Police Officer after a jury found him guilty of murder.

“An officer who’s been convicted by a jury of murder. that’s the legal process, this shouldn’t be controversial,” David Person with the Rosa Parks Day Committee said.

Huntsville Police Officer William Darby was found guilty for the murder of Jeffery Parker nearly three weeks ago.

Hours following the jury’s decision, Mayor Tommy Battle issued a statement saying he disagreed with the verdict and that Officer Darby followed appropriate safety protocols and did what he was trained to do.

But David Person with the Rosa Parks Day Committee says he took that back last week after a meeting with the group.

“I’m going to quote him here, “I respect the decision of the jury, I respect Officer Darby’s decision to appeal.” That’s the statement he sent us and we were comfortable with that.”

However days later, the Mayor speaking to said he stood by both statements.

“Those are incongruent statements. So we believe that that reflects a very problematic approach to leadership,” Person said.

That’s why the Rosa Parks Day Committee is calling for Mayor Battle’s resignation once again.

“We are adamant in saying that there’s got to be a change in the culture of policing,” Person said.

We reached out to Mayor Battle’s office to request an interview.

He sent us this statement, it reads, “I am disappointed the members of the Rosa Parks Day Committee have chosen to end productive dialogue. We had a good conversation last Wednesday and were set to meet again this week to collaborate on solutions for a better Huntsville. Progress is difficult without dialogue. This administration will continue to communicate with all interested parties seeking to build bridges and make this community and our police department the best they possibly can be. We look forward to many more productive meetings with our community partners.” – Mayor Tommy Battle.

Person says the committee canceled its planned meeting with Mayor Battle Thursday, but hopes to have productive conversations in the future.

He says he’d like to hear the mayor clarify his stance on the verdict and share concrete steps he is taking to move the police department forward.

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