Officer William “Ben” Darby responded to an armed subject call that turned suicide-by-cop in 2018. The person that called 911 was Jeffery Parker. Parker refused to stay on the line with 911 for help. Ben and two other officers responded. When Ben arrived on scene, one officer was in the house with Parker, with nothing between them to stop a bullet. Ben subsequently took over the scene for safety reasons. Between Ben and two other officers on scene, Parker was told to put his gun down seven times. Parker refused. After this refusal Parker made a movement, Ben perceived an imminent threat due to his training and the totality of the circumstances. Ben fired his weapon once, eliminating the threat to his life and the other officers.
It was later discovered that the subject told his neighbor (a witness) that he intended on luring police officers into his home to kill them because he hated cops.
After an Incident Review Board was conducted by the Huntsville Police Department, the department found that Officer Darby’s actions were within policy and justified. The first two officers were sent back to the academy for remedial training and later resigned. Officer Darby returned to work, and within 4 months a secret grand jury was convened by the district attorney. Officer Darby was charged with murder. The police chief, city council, and mayor of Huntsville supported Ben Darby and paid the initial legal fees.
The original judge denied Ben qualified immunity but gave no reason why.
During the trial, the judge prevented the jury from hearing evidence that clearly shows Ben is innocent, including relevant testimony by the neighbor and others, as well as applicable case law that would have exonerated Officer Ben Darby (Graham v. Connor, Tennessee V. Garner, Montoute v. Carr, Garczynski v. Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office). This trial was closed to the public at the prosecution’s request. Shortly before trial, the DA offered Ben a plea deal for no prison time if he would take the easy way out and plead guilty to aggravated manslaughter, a felony. Ben held fast and maintained his innocence. This resulted in a personal and malicious prosecution that wanted to win at all costs.
During the trial, experts testified that Ben acted reasonably. The only experts that testified were on Ben’s behalf.
During the trial, the DA compared Officer Darby to a regular civilian who barged into a random person’s house, shooting, and executing them. The DA told the jury that there is no separate standard to judge police officers in deadly force scenarios compared to a regular citizen, which is patently false. This factored into the wrongful conviction being overturned later on appeal. After evidence and the law were withheld from the jury, Ben was found guilty of Murder.
Officer Ben Darby was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Ben sat in an Alabama prison along with pedophiles, gang members, and career criminals for 20 months while fighting on appeal. The National FOP wrote a brief and legal response to this case.
The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals unanimously overturned the wrongful conviction, and wrote a 62 page opinion detailing why. Ben walked out of prison with all his rights restored and no conviction, despite all odds.
But now the same DA is taking Ben back to trial in December of 2023.
Legal fees continue to mount. All support is greatly appreciated as this miscarriage of justice continues each day that Ben still faces another trial.
Ben has stood for what is right; now we must stand with him.
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