FAYETTEVILLE — A judge on Thursday granted a request from the police chief of a North Carolina city to release body camera video recorded in the aftermath of the shooting death of a Black man by an off-duty sheriff’s deputy.
Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins filed the petition with the courts on Tuesday. She wanted to publicly release footage that she says will show exchanges between Fayetteville police officers and three witnesses at the scene of last Saturday’s fatal shooting of Jason Walker by off-duty Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Jeffrey Hash, The Fayetteville Observer reported.
Two witnesses have made comments on social media, released a video and spoken at a demonstration, creating “significant public attention,” according to the petition.
Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons told the newspaper that he approved the release “in the interest of justice.”
Under a North Carolina law passed in 2016, body and dash camera footage is not public record. Anyone can ask a court to order its release, however.
Fayetteville police said Monday that a preliminary investigation determined that Walker, 37, “ran into traffic and jumped on a moving vehicle.” Hash shot Walker and then called 911, police said. Walker was pronounced dead at the scene.
Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney who represented the family of George Floyd and has been retained by the Walker family, scheduled a news conference and rally on Thursday night.
Floyd, a Black man, was killed in 2020 by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe and eventually went limp. Chauvin was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison on murder and manslaughter charges.