‘The March Continues’: Around 50 people march streets of downtown Huntsville for police reform

Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 10:59 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - One year ago Thursday, hundreds of people were running from downtown Huntsville to avoid being tear-gassed or hit by rubber bullets and bean bag rounds.

One year after the march ending with rubber bullets and tear gas, dozens of people march for...
One year after the march ending with rubber bullets and tear gas, dozens of people march for police reform in Huntsville.(WAFF)

Thursday night, a group gathered in the same place to send a message about police reform.

“I had to drive through two sun-down towns to get here today. And still, I’m here,” one participant said.

People from all over Alabama met in Big Spring Park Thursday.

Their motivation?

“All they did was throw some gas on it last year. And now it’s a big ‘ole bonfire and we’ve got a lot of people around it,” Black Lives Matter Huntsville leader Keith Young said.

Remembering the June 3, 2020 protest, it ended with officers using tear gas, rubber bullets, and multiple arrests and advocating for reform of the Huntsville Police Department.

“This day is etched in infamy in all of our minds,” Young said.

After several speeches, around 50 people took over the streets of downtown Huntsville.

One of them was James Wardlow.

“The mayor backing a murderer saying ‘Hey this is going fine.’ And also our tax dollars going to that, to represent that guy, you know,” Wardlow said.

Wardlow says he voted for Mayor Tommy Battle but will not again, after hearing his response when Huntsville Police Officer William Darby was convicted of murder.

“I thought he was a great person for Huntsville. And I love all the new business he is bringing in and that kind of thing. But at the same time, I can’t stand behind someone whose views are of that situation,” Wardlow said.

Thursday’s protest comes just days after a video of a Huntsville police officer stomping on a victim’s legs went viral, now resulting in an officer facing a disciplinary review.

“It’s a step in the right direction. But the thing about it is, what disciplinary hearing is there going to be, what’s going to be the end of it? Is it going to be, ‘ok you can leave for three months, we’ll still pay you don’t worry? We can’t have people like that on our HPD force that we’re supposed to look up to,” he said.

During the protest, WAFF 48 did not see a single Huntsville Police Officer, only two security guards.

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