US Attorney for North Alabama creates independent shooting review counsel

The advisory counsel will be made of up to 5-9 members.

Posted: Nov 25, 2019 6:42 PM
Updated: Nov 25, 2019 9:11 PM

The Madison Police Department cleared all five officers involved in a shooting in the Planet Fitness parking lot where Dana Fletcher died.

The police department said it's internal review board determined all five officers acted, according to department police and procedures.

A new independent shooting review advisory counsel was formed by the U.S. Attorney’s office.

U.S. Attorney Jay Town for the Northern District of Alabama said he's worked on creating an independent review counsel for agencies to use for about a year.

"This service might actually provide the transparency that is unquestionable or unquestioned by those who might be the most critical. That’s why I thought it’s so important to provide those services to law enforcement agencies," he said.

A Madison county man, De'Breon Williams, said he likes the idea that another agency could take a look at a shooting involving police..

"It would possibly give it a different eye. A more unbiased approach,” Williams said. "I’m not sure if it’s going to completely calm public concern, but I think it’s a good step in a direction to alleviate certain mishaps."

Town explained the advisory counsel is made up of numerous active and retired law enforcement. Town said depending on where the case was only 5-9 members would be called into to review. Currently, agencies have the decision to make if they want to use it or not, and this board doesn’t change that.

“It would be done as a substitute as the shooting agency’s own shooting review, but it can be redundant and that’s perfectly fine. We will do whatever we are asked to do," Town said.

Town explained shooting review boards never do any investigating, and they only review evidence from shooting incidents.

"A shooting review board at any agency is not an investigative body or tool. They are reviewing the evidence as it currently is at that moment," Town said.

Williams said he hopes it helps the community find trust in law enforcement.

"You do have some cops that are very good follow the law as they should, and you have others who a badge and gun is all they need to really do whatever they want," he said.

The new independent review board hasn't been called in for use by any agencies just yet. Two members of the new board in Madison county are the Chief Trial Attorney at the District Attorney's Office, Tim Gann. Chief Eddie Houk with the sheriff's office. Town said any review board would not have members serve on it who live in the same area.

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