HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The death of 39-year-old Dana Fletcher, who was killed in an officer-involved shooting, lead to a passionate town hall meeting, Monday night.
The small meeting room at the Dr. Richard Showers Center quickly became standing room only as concerned residents filled the halls looking to hear from Madison County District Attorney Rob Broussard and Sheriff Kevin Turner.
What was supposed to be an educational town hall, informing people about the laws surrounding deadly force, quickly became a heated and tense situation.
Quickly into Rob Broussard’s opening statements, the crowd turned when he said they don’t have the right to view the body camera footage.
“The public is not entitled to that evidence at this time,” said Broussard.
As soon as the words came from his mouth, the crowd shouted back “WHY?!”
People in the crowd pointed to past situations where video was released within days of a police incident. Some even went as far as saying things like, “We paid for the cameras for a reason, as taxpayers.”
As the tension grew, Broussard said out of frustration, “You know what. You know what. I came here to exchange information. If folks don’t like the process, it can be even shorter.”
When actual questions emerged from the noise, some people were left disappointed.
“What constitutes police misconduct, what happens after it takes place?” asked one woman.
“That’s honestly probably so all-encompassing. I’m not here to give a lecture,” answered Broussard.
Sheriff Kevin Turner assured the public that Dana Fletcher did have a gun and he did point it at officers. He was also quick to remind the angry crowd that he understands some of their concerns.
“Listen, I was raised in this building. Less than 15 yards from this building,” said Turner.
When asked about the best way to de-escalate tense situations between officers and the public, Turner said, “You need to know how to talk to people. When you start dealing with someone that you suspect may have a gun, it’s all about communication.”
Turner started to say the sheriff’s office investigation of Madison PD’s officers should be done this week. When a member of the public asked if he could be quoted on that, Turner said yes. However, he did at one point say “I think.”
Several people in attendance were also disappointed in the lack of a response by the local NAACP chapter.
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