Last August, Denver mayor Michael Hancock and Denver Police Chief Robert White appeared on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show to tout the use of body cameras.
Now, an incident in Trinidad provides a particularly vivid reason why municipalities should welcome body cameras, rather than opposing them.
The body-camera video from the incident, seen in two reports below, was key in exonerating a Trinidad cop in the fatal shooting of suspect Todd Dye.
The clip shows the officer, Ron Arlint, firing only after Dye pulled a gun and aimed it at him.
As noted by KKTV, the incident took place on April 24 at the Almar Trailer Park.
The owners of the trailer park called the cops because they suspected someone was sleeping in a vacant trailer without permission.
Officer Arlint can be seen entering the trailer and calling out to anyone who might be inside.
"Police department. Anyone in here? Show your hands. Make yourself known," he orders.
A short time later, Arlint sees a man around a corner and says, "Get on the ground. Get on the ground, right now!"
The man, later identified as Dye, twenty, initially follows commands. But then, he can be seen jumping up and pointing a handgun at Arlint, who opens fire.
Afterward, the video captures Arlint's account of what happened to fellow law enforcers.
"He was trying to get the gun ready," Arlint says. "He was, he was, it looked like he was cycling it. He was standing around the corner when I came in. He was trying to cycle the gun. He started raising it up. I told him, 'Drop it.' I shot once, I think, and then he tried, he grabbed it again and was still trying to. He never did get a shot off."
Why did Dye react as he did? The Colorado Springs Gazette offers a possible explanation: He had a criminal record in "multiple states" and was named in a couple of Colorado warrants, with one of them pertaining to escape from a community corrections facility.
Third Judicial District Attorney Frank Ruybalid, the prosecutor tasked with determining if Arlint had acted properly, has troubles of his own. In January, as we've reported, acknowledged violating thirteen state rules for professional attorney conduct, for which he was required to serve a 23-month probationary period. But thanks to the body camera video, his decision to deem the shoot justified is unlikely to stir much controversy.
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