CHARLOTTE (AP) — A North Carolina judge ordered the release of video showing a fatal shooting of a black man by a white Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer in 2012, the second time a judge has made such a decision since a new state law required a judge’s approval to release police video.
Mecklenburg County Superior Judge Lisa Bell ruled Monday that the police department must release the body camera footage to The Charlotte Observer
Michael Laney, 28, was killed by police on July 2, 2012. Family and police give conflicting accounts of what happened, and a prosecutor ruled that Officer Anthony Holzhauer was justified in the shooting. Family members said the shooting was unnecessary and officers overreacted.
Police said they were looking for an armed robbery suspect when they tried to stop Laney. They said he tried to pull a gun while fighting with one officer and Holzhauer then shot him.
Laney’s family said officers had control of his arms when he shot.
His brother, Antoine Laney, said seeing the video will help bring closure.
“Getting some answers will be like getting a burden lifted off my back,” he said.
The North Carolina law requiring judge’s to approve the release of body camera and dashcam police video took effect last fall. The law was criticized by media organizations who said it makes police agencies far less transparent.
Neither attorneys for the officers, nor the police department nor the district attorney objected to the release of the five hours of video.
Earlier this month, another judge ordered the release of video in the June 2 police shooting of Rodney Rodriguez Smith. That video hasn’t yet been released.