North Carolina judge rules police body camera video in the Jason Walker shooting case can be released

2022-01-14 11:18:33

Jason Walker, a 37-year-old Black man, was shot and killed by Cumberland County Sheriff’s Deputy Lt. Jeffrey Hash, who told authorities he had jumped on his vehicle.
Hash’s attorney, Parrish Daughtry, told CNN the shooting was self-defense, citing a North Carolina law that includes a stand-your-ground provision.

Judge James Ammons Jr. ordered the release of the bodycam videos of the three Fayetteville Police Department officers who responded to the scene where Walker was shot.

Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins had requested permission from the court to release the videos, which she said contained statements from three witnesses.

“FPD is seeking public release of the witness statement recordings to advance compelling public interest, release would not create a serious threat to the fair administration of justice,” she wrote in the filing.

In North Carolina, law enforcement officials must petition the court for permission before law enforcement agency recordings can be released or shared publicly.

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is leading the probe and so far no charges have been filed. The Cumberland County Sheriff​’s Office has confirmed that Hash, ​who has been with the department since 2005, is now on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.

Walker’s family has still not received any details of the autopsy or preliminary findings of the investigation, according to their attorney, Ben Crump.

“We got to stop this vicious cycle in America of shoot first and ask questions later when it’s Black people. It’s unacceptable,” Crump said on Thursday night at a gathering at the Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Fayetteville.

“I tell you brothers and sisters in Fayetteville, North Carolina tonight, that it is the right thing to do, that we speak up for the truth of what happened to Jason Walker, that we fight for the truth of what happened to Jason Walker,” Crump said.

Crump added that Hash was an officer who was supposed to be trained to protect people, not to take life.

Preliminary investigation

According to the police, a preliminary investigation showed Walker “ran into traffic and jumped on (the) moving vehicle” that the sheriff’s deputy was driving. “The driver of the vehicle shot (Walker) and notified 911,” according to a statement Saturday by Fayetteville police.

“I had a male jump on my vehicle and break my windshield. I just shot him. He jumped on my vehicle. I just had to shoot him,” Hash told the dispatcher in a nearly four-minute 911 call.

The fatal shooting of a man by an off-duty sheriff's deputy in North Carolina is under state investigation

“I stopped so I wouldn’t hit him and he jumped on my car and started screaming; pulled my windshield wipers off, and started beating my windshield and broke my windshield. I had my wife and my daughter in my vehicle,” Hash added.

On Saturday evening a bystander posted a video that began moments after Walker had been shot.

It shows a man standing near the driver’s side of a red pickup truck while making a call on a cell phone. A person appears to be lifeless and bleeding on the ground beside him, and at least two people appear to be trying to offer aid to the person on the ground. Uniformed police officers arrive approximately 45 seconds after the video starts.

On Sunday, Chief Hawkins said an analysis of the vehicle’s so-called “black box” showed that the “vehicle did not impact anything or anyone,” and a windshield wiper had been torn off and used to break the windshield in several places.

“It’s important to share some of the confirmed facts of this case with the public to ensure transparency as this investigation proceeds,” she said. And added that the weapon used by Hash was not his service weapon.

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