Home News Huntsville police officer’s homicide conviction clears path for civil swimsuit
News - May 8, 2021

Huntsville police officer’s homicide conviction clears path for civil swimsuit


A jury deliberated for simply over two hours Friday earlier than it shortly delivered a responsible verdict within the homicide trial of Huntsville police officer William “Ben” Darby. The lawyer for the household of the person he shot and killed is now getting ready to maneuver ahead with a lawsuit filed final 12 months, which claims Darby and the division’s management are chargeable for Jeffery Parker’s killing.

“It is a man that shouldn’t have ever been a cop,” mentioned legal professional Martin Weinberg. “It is a man who lacked the fortitude and talent to adapt, and the police division needs to be chargeable for that.”

Weinberg mentioned that responses to the decision from Huntsville Police Chief Mark McMurray and Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, who every mentioned they disagreed with the jury’s resolution, show deeper points throughout the division and the town’s management. In a press release, McMurray mentioned: “We’re within the first phases of shock. Whereas we thank the jury for his or her service on this troublesome case, I don’t consider Officer Darby is a assassin. Officers are compelled to make split-second selections every single day, and Officer Darby believed his life and the lives of different officers have been in peril. Any scenario that includes a lack of life is tragic. Our hearts exit to everybody concerned.”

Weinberg mentioned the decision shouldn’t come as a shock contemplating the proof.

Darby was the third officer to reach at Parker’s dwelling on April 3, 2018. Parker, 49, was sitting inside with a pistol to his head. He had referred to as 911 and mentioned he deliberate to shoot himself. Two officers senior to Darby have been talking to Parker when Darby arrived. Darby advised Officer Genisha Pegues to level her gun at Parker earlier than he pushed previous her, pointed a shotgun at Parker and ordered him to drop the gun earlier than capturing him moments later.

Darby testified that he did what he did as a result of he believed Parker posed an imminent risk to him and the 2 different officers. He maintained that he made the best resolution and that the end result wouldn’t have been totally different even when he had heard Parker inform the officers he wasn’t going to shoot them, CBS42 reported.

“It simply confirmed his conceitedness, his cavalierness,” Weinberg mentioned of his feedback on the stand. He counseled Pegues for making an attempt to assist Parker, which is what police ought to do in a scenario like that, he mentioned. He thanked her for testifying in opposition to Darby. 

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The Huntsville Police Division’s inside investigation cleared Darby of any wrongdoing and ordered Pegues and the second officer, Justin Beckles, to endure further coaching. Weinberg mentioned the division took sides from the start and threw Pegues underneath the bus. 

Weinberg is representing Parker’s brother, Invoice Parker, a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer who graduated from the College of North Alabama with a level in legislation enforcement. On the steps of the courthouse, after the decision was delivered, Parker advised reporters he was grateful to Madison County District Lawyer Rob Broussard for pursuing the case.

“It was not a simple resolution for them, I’m certain, however it was the best resolution, and I do know our district legal professional most likely took loads of warmth for that,” he mentioned.

Broussard has mentioned that Darby’s actions aren’t a mirrored image of Huntsville police.

Parker and Weinberg say the alternative. They need the responsible verdict and their lawsuit to drive change in native legislation enforcement and the way it treats individuals experiencing psychological well being issues. 

“We really feel like, in the long run, there will probably be some change in Huntsville,” Weinberg mentioned. “There’s going to must be.”

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