A Huntsville mother has billboards demanding police reform

Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 11:40 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A Huntsville woman who lost her son in a deadly standoff with police says she hasn’t seen justice.

Brad Pugh was in distress when he was killed by Huntsville Police Officers last November.

Now, his mom says HPD needs to make changes.

Brad Pugh was shot 16 times and died in a police standoff in the Five Points Community.

Monday, April 5th, Brad’s mother put up a billboard at the intersection of Bob Wallace and Memorial Parkway. There will soon be three more just like it around Huntsville.

Brad Pugh’s mother Adina Peyton wants justice for her son.

“I don’t understand in a city that can put a man on the moon, we can’t find out what happened to my son the night of that shooting,” said Peyton.

She says Brad had mental health problems and on the night of November 17th, things got bad.

“He was a suicidal, sick, mentally ill person who is crying out for help and ended up with him getting shot 16 times,” said Peyton.

She claims officers with the Huntsville Police department didn’t send the right people to help. Instead, Peyton says they sent sharp shooters.

“Our 911 crisis calls are being handed-off to the police who are sometimes ending them in tragedy, which is what happened with my son. I believe that it’s a lack of training because they’re not trained to handle mental health issues,” said Peyton.

[ READ MORE: Officers’ actions ruled justified in Five Points deadly standoff; mother wants answers ]

I took her comments and concerns to the Huntsville Police Department and I talked with the Crisis Intervention and Mental Health Training Coordinator John Hollingsworth.

“Not only do we have certain officers trained as CIT officers or crisis intervention officers, we also have officers trained to be trainers where we continue that training,” said Hollingsworth.

As of right now, about 22 percent of the officers with HPD are trained Crisis Intervention officers.

Adina Peyton says more needs to be done.

“Justice for Brad is finding out the truth about what happened that night, and using it to make a change so that every mentally ill person in this town gets treatment or help and doesn’t end in tragedy. I think at this point that’s what justice for Brad is,” said Peyton.

Adina Peyton says she’s asked for all of the body camera video from the night of the shooting, but says she was only given a little snippet.

Officers with a Huntsville Police Department say they couldn’t respond to any specifics in this case since the investigation is still ongoing.

Officials with the city of Huntsville gave us the following statement:

“Losing a loved one is tragic under any circumstance, and the City extends its deepest sympathies to Ms. Peyton and her family. Cases involving mental illness are challenging for all involved. When Bradley Pugh ran toward a neighborhood with a gun and turned and pointed the gun at pursuing officers, he placed many lives at risk. The incident has been investigated by the Madison County District Attorney and no wrongdoing has been found on the part of Huntsville police.

Ms. Peyton and her attorney were given access to speak with Internal Affairs and review the incidents surrounding the death of her son. The review of relevant video included body camera, car camera and security camera footage of what happened that night. Ms. Peyton, understandably, chose to leave the room and not personally view the video, but her attorney and a friend stayed to watch. Ms. Peyton was given an additional opportunity to review the presentation but declined.

The City has provided sufficient access to relevant information to allow Ms. Peyton to learn what led to her son’s tragic death. For a number of reasons, including the privacy interests of Mr. Pugh’s entire family, the City respectfully declines to make the video available to the general public.”

Copyright 2021 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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