A civil liberties group is suing the City of St. Anthony, demanding footage of Philando Castile’s shooting be released.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Minnesota filed the lawsuit Thursday against the city, as well as the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and Minnesota Department of Public Safety, according to a news release from the ACLU.
The suit demands officials release all squad car camera videos that may have captured anything pertaining to the shooting that happened during a traffic stop in July.
Castile’s girlfriend, Lavish “Diamond” Reynolds, livestreamed the aftermath on Facebook. But that footage doesn’t show the actual shooting or moments leading up to it.
“Squad camera video is presumed to be public data,” Charles Samuelson – the ACLU of Minnesota’s executive director – said in a statement. “The video from the Castile shooting should have been released immediately. However, the ACLU-MN and others who have asked for the videos have been denied.”
The lawsuit – which you can read here – argues that refusing to release that information violates the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.
The ACLU references a state statute that says “data created or collected by law enforcement agencies which document any actions taken by them to cite, arrest, incarcerate or otherwise substantially deprive an adult individual of liberty shall be public at all times.”
But the BCA has deemed the footage “investigative data” that can’t be released until its investigation is finished, the Star Tribune reports.
The ACLU argues the law that says the data ought to be released is not subject to the law saying authorities can keep “investigative data” private.
And even if the footage is considered private, the ACLU argues they should be released anyway because “the public benefit of disclosure outweighs any potential harm.”
The news release says that Castile’s family is not involved in the lawsuit.
This happened with Jamar Clark, too
People also demanded to see video footage of the Jamar Clark shooting that happened in Minneapolis last year. And similarly, months later the ACLU filed a lawsuit demanding the videos be released.
That didn’t change much though. The BCA still didn’t release anything until the investigation was complete.
The BCA didn’t immediately release that footage after the investigation either, waiting more than a month from the time authorities finished.