NewsLocal News


Release of body cam footage from TPD officer-involved shootings stalled by judge

Posted at 5:52 PM, Aug 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 17:52:57-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Tallahassee is left waiting once again to find out what happened in the officer-involved shootings of Tony McDade and Mychael Johnson.

McDade's family hired a lawyer to file a public records request for that video in order to see the events that led up to McDade's death.

Judge John Cooper's ruling Friday says the fact that it's an ongoing, open investigation means his hands are tied until a grand jury investigates, though Cooper says that doesn't mean the public won't ever see that footage.

"Whatever I decide people will be unhappy with me," said Cooper. "I understand that. That's my job."

Cooper says he fully understands both sides of the argument when coming to his decision.

The defense, the city, police, and state's attorney's office believe there are other underlying factors to this case that come first.

"These are cases that would be presented to a grand jury," Norvell said. "It will be for the grand jury to decide whether there were crimes that should be charged, whether there is more to investigate, and that's within the prerogative of the grand jury."

High-profile civil rights lawyer Ben Crump took the virtual stand for the McDade family.

"Mistrust that exists on both sides between communities of color and law enforcement and the main way to bridge that trust is one, transparency," Crump said. "No matter what it shows."

It's something Judge Cooper agrees is an important issue, which is why he says it's not a matter of if the video will come out, but when.

Depending on how the grand jury case progresses, it could be released afterward.

The McDade family lawyer also suggested in arguments releasing a redacted version of the videos by blurring out the faces of officers or taking out parts of the audio.

The judge disagreed, saying if the video would be shown it should be as-is.