Officer Ben Darby responded to a suicide-by-cop scenario in 2018. After recognizing that his partners were not utilizing sound officer safety tactics by placing themselves in a potentially deadly situation without cover and concealment within a few feet of the armed subject, without their firearms drawn, Officer Darby placed himself in front of his partners and gave multiple warnings to the subject to put his gun down, which he was pointing at his head. After making a furtive movement with his head, shoulders, and firearm and after believing that his life and the lives of his partners were in imminent threat of great bodily harm or death, Officer Darby shot the subject, who was a known white supremacist. 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 under the rule of law. 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 judged denied Ben qualified immunity but gave no reason given why.
During the trial, the judge prevented exculpatory evidence from being heard by the jury, 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—not open to family, friends, or me, due to Covid restrictions and 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, that Ben did not commit. Ben did not go back on his word.
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. After evidence and the law were witheld from the jury, Ben was found guilty of Murder.
Officer Ben Darby was sentenced to 25 years.
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, along with Chief McMurray of the Huntsville Police Department.
The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the wrongful conviction and wrote a 62 page opinion why. Ben walked out of prison with all his rights restored, no conviction, despite all odds.
But now the same DA is taking Ben back to trial in December of 2023.
This catastrophic situation has devastated the Darby family and left them in significant financial crisis as 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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