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Even After Being Found Guilty of Murder Two Months Ago, The City of Huntsville Continues to Support the Officer Financially Who Was Involved

Huntsville still pays the salary of an officer found guilty of murder two months ago; he shot and killed a suicidal man.

Despite losing his certification, former Huntsville Police Department officer William Ben Darby is still accessible on bond and employed by the department in a non-active capacity.

Through a public records request, AL.com got Darby’s salary history from the city of Huntsville.

After being convicted guilty by a jury two months ago, Darby went on medical leave, as evidenced by his absence from work. The Family and Medical Leave Act, a federal statute, mandates that companies provide employees with unpaid leave for medical and family emergencies.

According to Darby’s most recent pay stub (mid-June), she receives roughly $2,162 before taxes every two weeks.

While Darby awaits punishment, the city appears to have also urged other police officers to provide sick time.

They sent out an email to the police force asking for volunteers to donate sick time to a staff member whose condition was kept secret. The email was sent from Chief Mark McMurray’s account on May 20 — less than two weeks after Darby’s conviction. AL.com reviewed it.

According to an email, an employee who wants to get donated leave has chosen to remain anonymous and has asked that their name and medical condition not be included in the request. Please complete the Request to Contribute Leave Form for an Anonymous Recipient and return it to my office if you wish to donate time off.

McMurray claimed ignorance when asked whether Darby was the mystery worker. The city publicly announced Darby’s leave of absence on the same day the email was delivered. According to the city’s official website, the police force consists of roughly 700 people, about 500

The City of Huntsville Continues to Support the Officer Financially
The City of Huntsville Continues to Support the Officer Financially

sworn officers.

McMurray denied to AL.com that he was the one who sent the donation request.

He said that he would never make donation requests via official email. That doesn’t serve any purpose. It wasn’t sent from our company.

McMurray claimed that his secretary may have forwarded the email on behalf of human resources after AL.com pointed out that the email was sent from his account.

Some police officers, both active and retired, are worried that Darby is the email’s subject.

The city would not confirm or deny to AL.com on Wednesday that the email request was for Darby.

Police officers and teachers, like other government personnel, often can donate sick or personal days to colleagues dealing with serious illnesses or caring for family members.

One Huntsville police officer, speaking anonymously for fear of punishment to AL.com, said he did not recall being requested to donate to an unknown employee throughout his more than two decades of service.

The officer told AL.com, “In the past, we’ve always known who we were requested to donate to.”

In a letter to AL.com, City Attorney Trey Riley stated the city could not discuss Darby’s leave because it would violate federal law. However, Riley noted that the city has previously requested sick leave payments for nameless public employees.

He said, “Employees who want participation in the donated leave program will select whether they wish to have personal information and medical condition identified.”

Although the city’s personnel rules manual states that a donor may desire anonymity, it appears that the donor’s medical status must be reported.

The policy states that once the Mayor has given final permission to the leave recipient’s application, the City’s Department of Human Resources will notify other City departments about the leave recipient’s medical emergency so potential donors can learn more about the situation. “At the option of the leave recipient, personally identifying material may be redacted from such description.”

Darby has posted a bond for $100,000 until his sentencing on August 20 in Madison County Circuit Court.

City officials have been reluctant to discuss Darby’s job and leave status, claiming privacy concerns, and have kept the data under wraps until now.

In May, the city acknowledged that Darby had taken “accrued leave,” delaying a disciplinary hearing indefinitely. The town could determine whether to fire Darby after his conviction at the hearing.

AL.com reports that attorneys and employment law experts have speculated that the city may not pursue a hearing to terminate his employment. At the same time, he is on FMLA because of federal law.

Darby has always had the backing of the city. Approximately one month after Darby shot and murdered Jeff Parker in 2018, he was acquitted by an internal police review board. In addition to the officer who shot Parker, the department also referred two others who did not shoot Parker for more training.

The municipal council paid for Darby’s legal representation out of public funds.

A few minutes following the officer’s conviction, the city issued remarks from Mayor Tommy Battle and Police Chief Mark McMurray challenging the verdict.

On May 7, a jury in Madison County found Darby guilty of murder in the 2013 shooting death of Parker. Parker contacted the police and said he was suicidal and had a gun, which led to the shooting.

According to Darby’s testimony, he shot Parker out of self-defense because he thought Parker might shoot him or another officer with what turned out to be a flare gun.

The City of Huntsville Continues to Support the Officer Financially
The City of Huntsville Continues to Support the Officer Financially

The footage from Darby’s body camera shows him rushing to the house with a shotgun he grabbed from his patrol car. He shot Parker in the face a little over a minute later. As evidenced by his testimony, Darby testified that he had to take over the matter from a higher officer because he thought she was endangering herself by speaking with Parker.

After entering the house for only 11 seconds, Darby reportedly fired the deadly shot. The Parker estate has launched a wrongful death lawsuit against multiple parties, including Darby and the city.

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