DENVER (KDVR) — After Denver police officers wounded six bystanders when they shot a suspect in a downtown crowd, the department acknowledged that body camera video captured the incident. But when will it be released to the public?
On Wednesday, the Denver Police Department held a news conference and showed stills from the video, which they used to bolster their narrative that the 21-year-old suspect pointed a gun at them before they opened fire. Still, the full video has not been shown publicly.
But a relatively new Colorado law means the video may be released within weeks. In fact, barring a judge’s ruling otherwise, its release is required.
The law went into effect a year ago and is now part of the sweeping police accountability law passed in 2020. Under the new provision, body camera video is supposed to be released within 21 days any time a misconduct complaint is filed against a police officer.
On Wednesday, the law firm representing two of the wounded bystanders said it has filed that complaint in the shooting.
While that starts the clock for the video to be released within 21 days, there are some caveats. The release could be delayed by up to 45 days if a criminal case is still pending.
The video could also be blocked from the public entirely. A lesser-known provision of the law allows police officers to reject to the video’s release. Officers have 21 days to file an objection with the judge, who must hold a hearing within seven days of the objection and make a ruling.
That happened last summer, just after the law took effect. A Weld County judge blocked the release of video of a Greeley Police officer accused of putting a suspect in a chokehold. But months later, a judge ordered its release after a media challenge.
What might the body camera show in the Denver police shooting?
Police say the video shows the officers’ interactions with the targeted suspect both before and after the shooting.
A police spokesperson said Wednesday that two of the officers involved activated their cameras immediately after the shooting, and because of how the cameras are designed, they also have video recordings of the 30 seconds prior to activation. That window of time includes the shooting, police said.
At least one of the officers had full activation of their camera with audio and video of the shooting.