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Solicitation e-mail promoting fundraiser for former Huntsville officer sparks investigation

Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 9:53 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - An internal investigation is underway within the Huntsville Police Department. This comes after a lieutenant sent an e-mail soliciting help for convicted former police officer William Darby.

Huntsville police Chief Mark McMurray says the e-mail was unsolicited and that there is no organized effort within the department to fundraise for Darby.

WAFF 48 received the e-mails from a source within HPD. The writer asked officers if they wanted to support Darby and included an attachment showing what that would look like.

The attachment was a flyer for the fundraiser being run by a group called The Blue Justice Project.

It lists prices for shirts and sweatshirts that would include the logo “#standwithDarby.” The flyer calls Darby’s trial an “unethical and malicious prosecution.”

Darby was convicted of murder in May in the 2018 shooting death of Jeffery Parker.

Body camera video that was recently released showed the shooting. Officers responded after Parker called the police and said he was suicidal. Parker was sitting on a couch with a gun pointed at his own head when officers arrived.

The video showed Darby push past two officers who were talking to Parker and then shooting him with a shotgun.

It’s important to note, someone in Internal Affairs within HPD quickly responded to the e-mail solicitation, reminding employees that they could not use department resources or time for this matter.

A statement from Chief McMurray said internal affairs is investigating.

“This is a direct violation of City policies and Internal Affairs immediately asked the officer to recall the unauthorized email and employees were notified accordingly,” said Chief McMurray. “There is no organized effort within the police department to fundraise or otherwise for William Darby.”

The city paid $125,000 for Darby’s defense. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison, and on Wednesday, Aug. 8 was transferred to state prison.

Darby’s attorneys promised to appeal the conviction but to date, no formal appeal has been filed.

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