We are horrified at this threat to civil liberties, and deeply dismayed to find it here in a town we had believed to be a beacon of progress for the rest of Alabama. We urge our city and county leaders to ensure that the first amendment rights of all are protected. Our local government and police must put in place policies and procedures to ensure respectful and appropriate treatment of all people they are sworn to serve and protect. We stand ready to engage in civil dialogue with any and all interested stakeholders to address this issue and to Make Democracy Work for Huntsville, Madison County, and Alabama
At the LWVTNV membership meeting on 12 May 2021, the recent events involving the Huntsville Police Department including the Officer Darby murder conviction and the Citizens Advisory Council report regarding the police actions during the peaceful protests following the George Floyd murders were discussed. The membership agreed that we must express our concerns regarding the current lack of accountability and transparency and the resulting deficiencies in the policies, procedures, and training of the Huntsville Police Department. The Board drafted and agreed upon letters regarding the current situation.
It is our belief that transparency and accountability are part of good government, and the current situation with the Huntsville Police Department and the Huntsville leadership’s lack of transparency and accountability is very troubling. We have noted that many times when a Huntsville citizen has been killed or harmed by a Huntsville Police officer, the Mayor and Chief use the excuse that the police officer was following the department policy. If Huntsville police policy can result in a murder conviction for a police officer, it is time to look at that policy and make changes to protect both the citizens from harm and the police officers from legal ramifications.
Stephanie Barnett, Vice President, and Pam Caruso, Board Member, read read these letters during the City Council Meeting on 27 May 2021.