City Council Votes To Pay For Defense Of Cop Charged With Murder

Officer William Darby has been charged with murder after a shooting that the city ruled to be justified.

Huntsville, AL – The Huntsville City Council voted unanimously Aug. 9 to give $75,000 towards the defense of one of its police officers indicted on murder charges.

Huntsville Police Officer William Darby was indicted on a murder charge earlier in August for the on-duty shooting in April of Jeffery Parker, according to WHNT-TV.

The council voted 4-0 to pay the costs.

If the costs of his defense exceed $75,000, it would have to come back for review by the city council.

The indictment went against the findings of the Huntsville Police Department’s review of the case.

The shooting’s review board decision was announced in May. The Huntsville Police Department found that “all officers involved performed within Huntsville Police policies, procedures and training,” according to WHNT.

But the Mason County District Attorney’s officer proceeded with the murder charge.

The grand jury that indicted Officer Darby saw body camera video of the incident from all three officers as well as their recorded interviews after the shooting, WHNT reported.

The grand jury also heard from Huntsville Police Department witnesses who testified about the department’s training.

The focus seemed to be on the dead suspect being mentally ill, implying that mental illness makes somebody less of a threat.

The Parker family attorney told AL.com, "This incident centers on the growing concern about the mistreatment of the mentally ill by law enforcement. We have to put more resources into training law enforcement on how to deal with the mentally ill."

The shooting happened April 3 and it started when Parker called 911. He said he was suicidal and had a gun, the police stated.

Parker’s girlfriend Michele Louthan was upstairs in their home and didn’t know Parker had called the police until after he was shot, WHNT reported.

Three police officers responded to the scene and they spoke to Parker.

The Huntsville Police Department said that Parker refused several commands to Parker for him to drop his gun.

Then Officer Darby fired one shot at Parker which killed him, the police said.

Officer Darby was arrested after the indictment and is out of jail on bond. The trial is scheduled to start Oct. 29, according to WHNT.

The police chief and mayor stand behind Officer Darby’s actions.

"His training, through the Huntsville Police Department, allowed him and his fellow officers to survive as he rushed bravely, without hesitation, into one of the most volatile and unpredictable situations a police officer may ever encounter," Huntsville Police Department Chief Mark McMurray said, according to WHNT. "He is by no means a murderer."

Chief McMurray made further comments in a press release.

“Had Officer Darby not acted decisively, we could have been here today to add yet another officer’s name to the memorial wall,” Chief McMurray said. “Officer Darby will continue to have the full support of the Huntsville Police Department as he awaits his day in court, where the totality of the circumstances surrounding his actions will be presented to a jury.”

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle also released a statement in support of Officer Darby.

"Our hearts and sympathies are with the Parker family as they are forced to relive this time of loss. And to Officer Darby, you have our full support. As a valued and responsible member of our force, he acted in accordance with his training. Please accord him the same presumption of innocence as all Americans are entitled," the mayor said.

Comments (32)
No. 1-19
johnnycab23513
johnnycab23513

Where was the family of the deep when he needed them? The girlfriend? They, unlike the officer, knew the man had issues. The DA should be looking for office space as soon as possible!

LordSeamus
LordSeamus

That DA needs to go as soon as possible.......this is his one shot for fame, at the expense of an officer who did his job. Mentally unstable people are as much, if not more than, a threat than a drugged up perp. Kudo's to the city council for helping with the officers defense fund !

ronparrish
ronparrish

I am glad to see the support from the Chief and the Mayor...It is a shame Officer Darby has to go through this for just doing his job..

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

Can't wait to see the video and then decide what I think about this case.

Grog
Grog

As much as I loved the job, you couldn't pay me enough today to do it.

AnnykaV
AnnykaV

A city council that has their heads on straight and will support their police? A damn shame that's not more common these days. Get rid of that DA and Huntsville is looking pretty attractive.

RPG156
RPG156

WTG, Huntsville City Council, FTW!

LStarr
LStarr

Officer Darby doesn't deserve all this commotion over him doing his job. Shoot, if he did, then so did the whole Police Department, since they have attested to the fact that he was, indeed, following procedure. So now the Police Department's procedure is under scrutiny? Officer Darby deserves only to be commended for a job well done. Even the word "murder" is ridiculous in this situation. Good job, Officer Darby. You have my utmost respect, as does the Police Department and the Mayor, for backing you up!

LStarr
LStarr

Just a quick addition to my previous comment - I don't want to leave out the City Commission - thank you for your part in having Officer Darby's back!

Righton17
Righton17

If this guy was mentally deficient or had some sort of mental issue, why did he have a gun in the home? Why would his "loving family" allow him to have a gun in the first place? Let's put the blame where it belongs.

Rascal1966
Rascal1966

Was there medical documentation that this guy was mentally ill?? So far all it sounds like is suicide by cop. Mental illness due not give you a pass on your crimes!!

bob95648
bob95648

The guy was lucid and organized enough to phone 911 and tell them he was suicidal and had a weapon. He was most likely still lucid and organized enough to understand officer's commands less than five minutes later when they arrived on scene. Mental illness doesn't always look like Hollywood portrays it to look. Most people with mental illness are very much aware and capable of responding to their environment. Nothing in this incident suggests delusional behavior -- except on the part of the prosecutor.

Bud
Bud

City politicians supporting a police officer, there may be hope after all!

Ladyfluterby
Ladyfluterby

Every time I read an article like this I can't help but wonder what do these activist DA and others expect from LEO's. Are LEO's suppose to row sham bo to see who offers themselves as a target and let's these people shoot one of them before they can take action?

Stanracer
Stanracer

Clearly the DA is anti -police. He/she shoild be re-assigned to the public defenders office ASAP.👎

GForce48
GForce48

It is shit like this that has officers all around the country riding on patrol with blinders on and only answering calls for service! The prosecutor's office should be embarrassed by the indictment and the prosecutor should be "recalled"/removed from office ASAP!

LEO0301
LEO0301

A mentally ill person I knew was taken to a facility on a Baker Act. After he was dropped off and left in the care of people trained to deal with the mentally ill, this guy managed to kill 4 people with his bare hands before being subdued. Don't tell me the mentally ill aren't dangerous.

ProGODProUSA
ProGODProUSA

Once in a long while, there is hope! This is a refreshing breath of sanity - a city council throwing its weight (and money) behind a police officer instead of "tarring and feathering him and riding him out of town on a rail".

Hawk3699
Hawk3699

A town council that supports it police officer and even throws in $75 K for defense. That's huge. Wonder if the DA's head is still up his ass. I'm glad I retired when I did.