Tags: parkland | school | shooting | footage

Media Fight for Parkland Shooting Video to See if Deputies Hid

Image: Media Fight for Parkland Shooting Video to See if Deputies Hid
Bruce Bartlett, center, listens on Tuesday as a state commission investigates the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

By    |   Wednesday, 11 July 2018 09:18 AM

Media outlets continued to fight this week for access to surveillance footage to see if sheriff’s deputies hid during the Parkland school shooting, but authorities have fought just as hard to keep the video evidence secret, the Miami Herald reported.

Exterior camera footage during the shooting has not be released, said the Herald, which is one of nearly a dozen media outlets seeking the video that could show the actions of Broward County deputies during the six-minute shooting spree at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were Nikolas Cruz is accused of killing 17 people.

There are reports that deputies took cover during the Feb. 14 shooting while students and staff were dying from wounds inside, the Herald said.

An officer's report released by the Coral Springs Police Department said Broward Sheriff's Office deputies were taking cover behind their vehicles and a tree during the shooting.

Deputy Scot Peterson, the school's resource officer, resigned after it was revealed that he didn't enter the building when the shooting began. He is the subject of an ongoing internal affairs investigation.

"The footage is the only objective evidence of what occurred and when," Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation, told a three-judge panel at the Fourth District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach, according to the Herald.

"The whole purpose of our open government laws is oversight and accountability. Access to the video footage allows us to hold those accountable who may not have done their jobs," Petersen added.

But a Broward County School Board attorney argued that the video's release could jeopardize the "integrity" of the video surveillance system at the high school, while the Broward state attorney said the footage was "criminal investigative information" that should be shielded from the public by state law, the Herald said.

The Sun Sentinel reported that Broward Circuit Judge Jeffrey R. Levenson on April 18 had authorized the public release of additional video from school security cameras, giving the school district two weeks to review the footage and determine whether to appeal his ruling.

Levenson had ruled that the video was not part of the active criminal investigation after viewing hours of the video, the Sun Sentinel said. The judge stated then that the "potential harm" to the school's security system is "outweighed by the strong public interest in disclosure."

The Broward County Sheriff's Office, though, didn’t appeal Levenson's ruling, according to the Herald. Sheriff spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright said Tuesday that the agency had "no objection" to the video being released.

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News media outlets continued to fight this week for access to surveillance footage to see if sheriff’s deputies hid during the Parkland school shooting, but authorities have fought just as hard to keep the video evidence secret.
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2018-18-11
Wednesday, 11 July 2018 09:18 AM
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