DA Releases Video in Officer-Involved Shootings - NBC 7 San Diego

DA Releases Video in Officer-Involved Shootings

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    DA Releases Video in Officer-Involved Shootings

    Calling it "new territory", San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis released video evidence Friday in officer-involved shooting cases reviewed by her office. NBC 7's Rory Devine reports. (Published Saturday, May 7, 2016)

    Calling it "new territory", San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis released video evidence Friday in officer-involved shooting cases reviewed by her office.

    "We recognize that times have changed," Dumanis said explaining the decision by law enforcement authorities to release personal body camera footage of officers involved in the shootings under investigation.

    "We know we live in a world where all kinds of video evidence is becoming more and more prevalent," she said.

    Dumanis said they are planning public feedback sessions later this month to discuss the new policy.

    "Our ultimately goal is to have a video release policy that serves the public interest and preserves individual rights," said San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.

    The first case involved the death of a man in the Gaslamp Quarter on October 20.

    Lamontez Jones, 39, of Virginia, was shot and killed by SDPD officers in downtown San Diego. His family has filed a wrongful death claim against the City of San Diego, the police department and the two officers involved.

    Investigators later determined an item Jones grabbed from his backpack was not a real firearm, but a steel replica with the same markings of a real weapon.

    Both officers who fired on Jones failed to activate their body-worn cameras in time to capture the shooting, and the case gained a lot of criticism.

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    In the second case, Michael Taylor was shot several times in the torso after he attempted to run over a law enforcement officer in Point Loma on March 12, 2014.

    Four deputy U.S. Marshals and a San Diego police officer were injured while taking part in an undercover operation on Garrison Street.

    Taylor survived his injuries.

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    In a third and final review, the DA investigated the shooting of a San Diego Police Officer on May 17, 2015.

    Dennis Richard Fiel, 34, of San Diego, was shot and killed by police near Mesa College.

    The video released by the District Attorney's Office showed the incident from an officer's body camera. 

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    The policy of how to release the videos is not finalized, Dumanis said, but law enforcement throughout the county agrees the practice of releasing videos should be to do it whenever possible.

    "I am in full support of this protocol," SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman said in a written statement. "It is important we balance the integrity of a criminal investigation and the legal rights of all parties involved with the public's interest to see video evidence."

    "Public safety is a shared responsibility and having our public's trust is essential to maintaining the safety of all of our communities," she said.