City Government

Body Cam Video Of Shootings Should Be Released

Some 50 years ago, about the time the “Miranda Warning” became standard procedure, the GUARDIAN was working as the court-police reporter for the once dominant news venue, Idaho Statesman.
In that capacity we joined with the courts and defense lawyers to forge the BENCH-BAR-PRESS ethical guidelines agreement. In a nutshell it was intended to insure a defendant’s right to a fair trial while also preserving the public’s “right to know.”

With the advent of the internet, unlimited records access, and cell phone videos those guidelines have fallen by the wayside.

Boise Mayor Lauren McLean announced Monday that she asked Ada County Prosecutor Jan Bennetts to allow the city to release the body camera video from each of the three recent officer-involved shootings. However, the prosecutor’s office said it would undermine the investigation and “constitutional due process.”

“Release of evidence, including on-body video footage, not only undermines the investigation of Ada County’s Critical Incident Taskforce, which is comprised of law enforcement agencies across Ada County and the Idaho State Police, but it also undermines constitutional due process and the Idaho ethical rules,” Bennetts wrote.

Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee is in an awkward position. He obviously agrees with McLean that body-cam video should be released to inform the public of the actions of his officers and the suspects. Those of us who lived here during the times of frequent police shootings know the damage that can happen to public trust in their police department when facts are unknown.

Chief Lee has to account to the mayor, the prosecutor, The Critical Incident Task Force, The new Office of Police Accountability (ombudsman), and the citizens. And don’t forget the police union. Each has a different authority and influence.

The GUARDIAN applauds the mayor and chief for their efforts to release the video. Even a brief video segment can dispel rumors, quell civil unrest, and show the transparency of the police. Nationwide police are releasing bodycam video in a timely fashion–especially when it helps their image.

Our confidential sources tell us in the North End case of the alleged kidnapping of a juvenile, the suspect was armed with a large knife which he refused to drop.

According to another source, the guy “squatting” on private property on N. 21st pointed a handgun at officers which looked like a .357, but turned out to be a BB gun. A still photo was eventually made public. We have no information on the third shooting where the suspect was said to have rammed police cruisers.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. It seems to defeat the purpose of cam’s if they can deny providing facts and not hear say or bogus reports. What are they afraid of others seeing becomes a big question and concerning.

  2. “According to another source”. Like the City’s JULY PRESS RELEASE?
    “Which looked like a .357”. Wait! Are they sure it didn’t look like a .45? A .38 perhaps? Or maybe it looked like a .22? Nah, it looked a .357! Are you sure it wasnt a 9mm revolver?
    “Who lived here during times of frequent police shootings” You are writing about THREE local police shooting in a month!!! So what times of more frequent shootings are you referring to?
    Dang! “Our confidential source”. So, A leaker? The kidnappi g is still alleged, but the knife is a matter of criminal fact worthy of a shooting according to in- depth researching. Great source. Can they just write a guest story? The armed LibertyDog goons at City Hall were much more confident in the facts for their July 6th media appearance. No confidential sources needed a month ago.
    Maybe this kind of blogging is why The Statesman is not the “dominant news venue”, oh wait…

  3. Shall we dispense with holding investigative evidence until trial? Shall we release it so the media can interpret for us what we are viewing? Shall we do away with untainted juries and convict or acquit in the press? We the public can dust off the pitchforks and torches to invoke justice if you will just let us see the movie.

  4. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”

    ____This is where everyone should say, hell no!

    This is also another point of separation between the haves, and have-nots in America. Classism!

    Irony for for Ernesto Miranda (person for the USSC case), after being released from jail in 1976, he was fatally stabbed during a bar fight.

    His suspected killer was read his Miranda rights and didn’t answer questions from police.

    There was never a conviction in Miranda’s death.

  5. GiddingsGottaGo
    Aug 10, 2021, 3:52 pm

    @Caeth, you could apply that same standard to the Priscilla Giddings Ethics hearing, right? And agree she was doing some behaviour unbecoming a legislator or concerned citizen?

  6. Concerned Neighbor
    Aug 10, 2021, 4:03 pm

    Public entertainment has transitioned to “Guilty until Proven Innocent” and Marxist McLean continues to push that instead of our constitutional rights.

    Release of videos has proven to create rumors, spark riots, and are constantly manipulated (by CNN and others) to create doubt of our police.

    Our citizenry are not informed. Or rather, they stare at the TV that feeds them a constant stream of misinfotainment that caters to manipulated emotions and advertising dollars. Corporations are amoral entities that will say anything for a dollar.

    Fifth generation warfare is all about misinformation.

  7. Dave: 1. Biased and bigoted interpretation of facts and videos can influence perception. 2. This time. They have viewed and likely feel vindicated. This time. 3. Would a more rapid release have prevented protests, or is that just the popular woke thing to do these days?
    GGGo: Sorry, I don’t get your connection.

  8. Eagle Writer
    Aug 11, 2021, 7:42 am

    The question is one of the public’s “right” to see any evidence from a possible crime scene. Do we have a right to get copies of finger prints, or text messages or computer files or police videos? It seems we are asking to 1) taint a potential jury pool, and 2) cherry pick some evidence and make it public but not all evidence. I think Prosecutor Bennetts got this right.

  9. Editors post:
    Ahh, the idealism of police work.
    1. Facts and video CAN change and more importantly evidence can change and recordings can be “lost”.
    And now we have “alternative facts” and fake___ (whatever based on one’s goal).

    Certainly perceptions change over time. Remember the Matthew Jones case? A FUBAR from the start. Feel the same about it now after the publicity of national cases since 2005?

    I recall, the BPD case of Butt Taser included an 18yr experienced cop intentionally erasing an interview recording.

    Or the ol, ‘it wasn’t on’ excuse.

    All these unfortunate shootings & nothing has change in cop protocol that I know of.

    Call the cops for a transient person or someone having a mental crisis, or for $20 bill- and that person ends up dead. What type of person is going to call next time?

    COWBOY 101: Don’t get close too close to a sleeping person that may be holding a weapon! They might be a better shot than you when awaken.

    And a good Rule of Engagement: Don’t shoot first in a questionable situation.

    I’ll tell ya, I decided 10 years ago- “don’t call the cops”. I don’t want anything to do with em. And I don’t trust their system of “I’ve got your back Bro.”


    btw: One can go onto Amazon and purchase that gun “Umarex Brodax .177 Caliber BB Gun Air Pistol Revolver”, for $35. $35 dollars!
    (fake)Personal protection on the street or armed robbery for a $35 investment. 🙂

  10. PD: I suspect the reference was to 8 police involved deaths in the late 1990s. Here is a quote from the article linked below: “ Police shootings in Boise came under scrutiny in the late 1990s. Eight people, including an officer, died in six police-involved shootings over a 16-month period. The victims included Boise Police Officer Mark Stall and two other men involved in a downtown shoot-out in September 1997.”

    There is more information about Boise and Idaho police shootings in article. The Boise shootings led to the creation of the Community Ombudsman office which seems to have disappeared or become irrelevant.

  11. Two weeks later. Anything released?

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