Dale Jackson: Release the video of the Madison shooting and change the law
Police shootings are obviously high-value news events.
Any time a human life is taken by someone who is tasked with serving and protecting society, it needs to be investigated and publicly vetted.
By most accounts, the shooting of 39-year-old Dana Fletcher at the hands of Madison police officers seems to be a “good shoot.”
Law enforcement is publicly talking about the existence of a gun and the use of less than deadly force in the form of a canine and a taser, but there is a cellphone video of officers screaming about the existence of a gun right before the shooting.
If there is a gun, it will go down as a good shoot.
The ongoing investigation is important. It should happen quickly and thoroughly, but the end of that investigation should bring about the release of the video.
The spokesperson for the Madison County Sherriff’s department seems to think this doesn’t need to happen.
According to AL.com:
A spokesman for the Madison County sheriff’s office, which is investigating the shooting, said he doesn’t anticipate releasing video to the public.
“All video gathered is considered evidence and is part of the investigation,” he said in a statement.
Alabama law makes this possible, and that needs to change. There is no reason to not make these videos public after the investigation is completed.
But even without that, a photo of the gun or other exculpatory evidence would placate a public that is being bombarded with the idea that these shootings take place regularly and intentionally.
Secrecy breeds contempt, which destroys trust.
The tape should be released as soon as possible. Law enforcement should not be making statements about how they don’t anticipate releasing the video. They should be working on clearing up this case so they can release the video.