WAAY 31 I-Team Investigation: Huntsville city attorney unwilling to release body camera video

Riley listed off reason after reason the city won’t release body camera video with a clearer view from this incident early Sunday morning along University drive.

Posted: May 23, 2018 7:15 PM
Updated: Oct 15, 2018 2:37 PM

The City of Huntsville's attorney told WAAY 31 police body camera video of an officer repeatedly hitting a suspect aren't going to be released.

The cell phone video was posted to Facebook by a witness and has gone viral on Facebook, however, police say the video doesn't show the full incident.

Police asked other potential witnesses to send in video but the City says, no way, now how, it’s not releasing body cam footage.

"We've got a policy and we're not just going to release the video when it's beneficial to us and not release it at some other time. Of course, quickly people are going to say if it's good for you, you are going to release it, and if it's not good for you, then you are not going to release it," said City Attorney Trey Riley.

In his office Wednesday morning, Riley listed off reason after reason the city won’t release body camera video with a clearer view of this incident early Sunday morning along University drive.

"It's unfair to the person who is charged or to a victim of an incident that has occurred that we just release video. The reason being is because at that point you have just released part of the evidence and you've released it off into a forum where there is no control," he said.

In this case, a video is already on social media. Police asked other people to send in any video they have.

Without the body camera footage, and only a vague statement from police, even after three days of questions we don’t know what led to the scene in the social media video.

All Huntsville police will say is there was an accident and the responding officers ended up arresting a man they say was drunk.

"What we do in my office is we try to remember the overall goal which is we are trying to be fair," Riley said.

WAAY 31 asked Riley if it’s fair that taxpayers spent a million dollars on the cameras and the city won’t show you what’s recorded.

"What people are paying for with their tax dollars here is not video footage. They're not paying for fancy cameras. They're paying for what those things can provide. The citizens of Huntsville have been well served by these cameras," he said.

Riley wouldn’t go into any details on how you’ve been served well by the cameras. More than a dozen states across the country set up specific systems for the public to view police body camera video. Several cities have similar laws. There aren’t any in Huntsville or Alabama.

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