August 13, 2018 07:55 AM
St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said the body camera footage of Sunday's officer-involved shooting will be released within the next 10 days.
Axtell made the announcement Tuesday afternoon and at a National Night Out event on Summit Avenue. He also issued a statement earlier in the day.
"By then nothing will hamper the investigation and it will provide our community with the truth that we all want," Axtell said at the event on Summit Avenue.
According to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, officers responded to the 900 block of St. Anthony Avenue around 2:30 a.m. Sunday on a report of multiple shots fired on the upper floor of a multi-unit dwelling.
The BCA's preliminary investigation indicates the officers entered an enclosed porch and knocked on one of two interior apartment doors. A man, now identified as William Hughes, allegedly emerged through the other. At one point, the officers discharged their firearms, striking Hughes, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
The officers, whom a source identified to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Monday, are Matthew Jones and Vincent Adams.
Axtell's statement followed a press conference where St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter called for the release of body camera footage and 911 audio.
"I am reiterating my call for a transparent, thorough and timely investigation, including the release of body cam footage as soon as possible," Carter said. "While the BCA has assumed the lead role in the investigation, the 911 call and body cam footage belong to the city of St. Paul, to our community members and to our taxpayers."
He added, "Without question, it will be released at some point."
Carter said prior to the release, initial statements must be collected from key known witnesses and the officers involved, and the family of Hughes has had the opportunity to review the body camera footage.
Carter said Axtell will work with the BCA to make sure the conditions are met "as soon as possible."
"While the release of this data will not provide all the answers we are all seeking, it will provide more information about the circumstances that led to such a tragic outcome," Carter said.
Read Axtell's full statement on the release of the body camera footage below:
Sunday's officer-involved shooting is a tragedy for us all. The family of Mr. Hughes has lost their loved one. Two officers have had their lives changed in ways that can never be understood by most. And our community is left with complex questions to which answers are not immediately available.
An officer-involved shooting leaves an indelible bruise on our collective soul, for which truth is the only relief. Since Sunday, I have met numerous times with Mayor Carter to discuss how to balance the public's need for answers with the integrity of the investigation. I appreciate Mayor Carter's support for the women and men of the Saint Paul Police Department and his leadership for our city.
I have also heard the clarion calls for the release of the body worn camera video. I understand the requests, whether altruistic in nature or a desperate search for something, anything, that will help us all find the truth and make sense of what has occurred.
I also know that the only path to truth is through a thorough, unadulterated investigation by highly trained professionals. Sometimes this journey takes longer than we would like and shortcuts can look alluring. But there can be no shortcuts on the path to truth. Any release of video before all interviews are conducted, before all critical evidence is evaluated and before all facts are known would jeopardize our ability to learn the truth.
To our community, I want you to know that when I took the oath and became the chief of police, I swore to uphold the constitutions of the United States and of the State of Minnesota. I swore to work in partnership with the citizens of the City of Saint Paul. I swore to adhere to the ethical values of professionalism, integrity, responsiveness, sensitivity, respect and openness.
This is not an oath I take lightly.
That is why today I commit to two things: I will allow the expert investigators time to complete their interviews, and I will release the body worn camera footage as soon as I know that doing so will not interfere with an unadulterated investigation.
Given the facts as I know them today, I anticipate sharing the videos with the family of Mr. Hughes and releasing them to the public within the next 10 days. Releasing the video any sooner could obstruct our ability to reach the truth.
Ben Rodgers & Beth McDonough
Updated: August 13, 2018 07:55 AM
Created: August 07, 2018 04:54 PM
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