The body cam footage of police officers who arrived at the scene after a black man was shot and killed by an off-duty cop in North Carolina can be made public, a judge has ruled.
Jason Walker, 37, was shot and killed in broad daylight by off-duty Cumberland County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Jeffrey Hash, at just after 2.15pm on Saturday, in Fayetteville.
Hash was driving in his personal vehicle with his wife and daughter when he claims Walker jumped on his car, tore off his windscreen wipers and began smashing his windshield – later telling a bystander during a 911 call: ‘He jumped on my vehicle. I just had to shoot him.’
The case has sparked days of protests and calls for Hash – who was placed on administrative leave – to be arrested, while the Walkers’ family lawyer Ben Crump, who also represents the family of George Floyd, branded the incident a ‘case of a shoot first, ask later philosophy’.
At a rally at the Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church on Thursday night, Crump said the shooting was ‘unacceptable’, while Walker’s father said: ‘I can’t hardly talk about him’, and other family members appeared too emotional to speak.
In a bid to be ‘as transparent as possible’, Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins filed a petition Tuesday to have the body cam footage of officers who arrived at the scene made public – which a judge has now granted.
Hawkins said the footage will show exchanges between Fayetteville police officers and three witnesses, the Fayetteville Observer reported.
Two witnesses have made comments on social media, released a video and spoken at a demonstration, creating ‘significant public attention,’ according to the petition.
Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons said he approved the release ‘in the interest of justice.’
Under a North Carolina law passed in 2016, body and dash camera footage is not public record, but anyone can ask a court to order its release.
Fayetteville police said Monday that a preliminary investigation determined that Walker ‘ran into traffic and jumped on a moving vehicle.’ Hash shot Walker and then called 911, police said. Walker was pronounced dead at the scene.
Crump branded the shooting ‘unacceptable’ as he told a rally at a Fayetteville church on Thursday night how Walker was the single father of a 14-year-old son.
He said: ‘There are a lot of reasons why black children have to grow up without their fathers.
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SOURCE: Daily Mail