Madison Co. District Attorney's Office explains evidence released in Planet Fitness shooting

Friday, the Madison County District Attorney's Office released a still image of body camera footage it says shows Dana Fletcher, the man Madison police killed, pointing a gun at an officer.

"The actions of the Madison Police Department were entirely justified because of the clear evidence of what happened that day," said Rob Broussard, Madison County District Attorney.

Broussard said the case is closed, but the Madison Police Department and the mayor's office won't talk on camera about what happened. They released a statement saying all five of the officers involved are still on leave. Friday, the District Attorney's office talked about how they cam to their decision.

Still images shown from the body camera video captured different angles from the five officers responding to the call in the Planet Fitness parking lot. They say those images show the gun by Fletcher's side which he had in his left hand and pointed at an officer.

Tim Gann, Chief Trial Attorney, and Broussard both talked with us Friday. They were two members of the five person team who reviewed the call.

Broussard explained why they won't have a grand jury review the case.

"It’s unethical if a prosecutor presents evidence on a case that they don’t think they can prevail in trial, much less when you look at the evidence here I don’t think a reasonable mind could ever find probable cause that that officer was not justified in what he did," he said.

The District Attorney's office said Madison police's response from when the first officer arrived at the Planet Fitness parking lot and started the interaction with Dana Fletcher to when Fletcher was shot killed was 9 minutes long. Amateur video that circulated on the internet only showed less than a minute of the interaction and didn't show what was happening on the passenger side of the car where Fletcher was interacting with officers.

The District Attorney's office didn't release the entire video because Broussard says it's the property of the Madison Police department.

Gann said Fletcher told the officer more than two dozen times to shoot him. Gann said he told the first officer who responded,"It's over for you."

Fletcher also pointed at his forehead and instructed the officer to shoot him in the, "third eye," 13 times according to Gann. He also said, "you better shoot me if you're smart," Gann added.

Gann showed still images from the body camera video he says show the gun by Fletcher's side, and he said the video also shows him pointing it at police.

Both Broussard and Gann said they weren't going to let these images be seen by the public until the sheriff's office investigation was reviewed.

“I understand the public’s desire. We want to know everything, but this is not an episode of Jerry Springer, this is the justice system," Broussard said.

"Patience and the truth always comes out. You just have to wait on it. There is a process that we have to go through. And the truth is right there," Gann added.

Broussard said there has been a lot of public interest in this case, and said he released the evidence today because he saw it in the public's interest for them to be able to see that Fletcher was armed with a gun. Broussard said the district attorney's office has not met with the Fletcher family, and he believes the Madison Police department is supposed to meet with the family.

Alabama state law says body camera video never has to be released to the public, but Broussard said he felt he needed to release images to show Dana Fletcher had a gun because he was directly confronted about the issue.

WAAY 31 asked if Alabama needed to catch up to the rest of the country where almost every state has specific rules on when and how to release body camera video.

"I’m not trying to be funny, but that’s above my pay grade, and we followed the law and most of what you’re talking about does not fall into our purview. It’s almost on past, I can promise you this: there’s not going to be body cam footage released by us while something is under investigation," Broussard said.

He said he would only support a law that would allow for his office to keep the integrity of the system intact. Broussard explained any changes to the law that could impact his office's job to be able to successfully prosecute a case he wouldn't support. He said releasing body camera video during an investigation could taint a future jury pool if the case was ever taken to trial.

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