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WDIO, media organization ask judge to release body cam footage in Floyd death

George Floyd died while under arrest on May 25, 2020. Surveillance photo. George Floyd died while under arrest on May 25, 2020. Surveillance photo. |  Photo: Rashad West and Jared Brewington

Updated: July 13, 2020 06:30 PM

MINNEAPOLIS (WDIO) -- WDIO-TV joined a coalition of local and national media organizations to ask a Minneapolis judge today to release police body camera footage in the May 25th death of George Floyd.

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The Hennepin County District Court ordered that the video captured by Minneapolis police officers can only be viewed at the courthouse in-person and with an appointment.

The media coalition says the decision to prevent the broadcasting and publication of the police body camera footage was made without prior notice or comment from journalists, violating the media’s and public’s rights.

RELATED: Read the Court Filing

“The Media Coalition respectfully requests that the Court, consistent with its obligations under the common law, its own rules of access, and the First Amendment immediately make the BWC (body worn camera) footage available for copying by the press and public so that it may be widely viewed not just by those who have the time and wherewithal to visit the courthouse during a global pandemic but by all members of the public concerned about the administration of justice in one of the most important, and most-watched, cases this State—perhaps this country—has ever seen,” the media coalition’s court filing states.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was seen on cellphone video holding his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes while restraining Floyd face-down on the street.  Chauvin has been charged with unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's death. Three other former officers -- Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and Alexander J Keung -- are charged with aiding and abetting unintentional second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. 

Lawyers for the media coalition argue that the video provides important context into the sequence of events that day that a simple transcript cannot show.  Judge Peter Cahill issued a gag order last Thursday saying pre-trial publicity could affect a fair trial for the four officers.

Members of the media coalition include: Hubbard Broadcasting (which owns WDIO-TV, KSTP-TV, and KAAL-TV), CBS/WCCO-TV, Fox/KSMP-TV, KARE-TV, Star Tribune, Minnesota Public Radio, Associated Press, CNN, Court TV, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Minnesota Coalition on Government Information, and Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law.
 

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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