ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - The 911 call audio and police body camera footage of a fatal officer-involved shooting in St. Paul will be released within the next 10 days, according to St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell.
Chief Axtell made the announcement in a statement released shortly after St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter held a press conference Tuesday afternoon calling for the release of the video and 911 call audio related to the shooting of William Hughes.
Mayor Carter said the footage and audio should be released once the BCA completes witness and officer interviews and after Hughes' family has had an opportunity to watch the video.
"I am reiterating my call for a transparent, thorough and timely investigation, including the release of body cam footage as soon as possible," said Mayor Carter. "While the BCA has assumed lead role in the investigation, the 911 call and the body cam footage belong to the City of St. Paul, to our community members and to our taxpayers."
Since the shooting, Mayor Carter said he has been in contact with St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell and BCA investigators. In a statement, Chief Axtell also promised to release the body camera footage once the interviews are complete and as long as the release does not interfere with the investigation. He said he expects the release will happen within the next 10 days.
"I also know that the only path to truth is through a thorough, unadulterated investigation by highly trained professionals," Axtell said in a statement. "Sometimes this journey takes longer than we would like and shortcuts can look alluring. But, there can be no shortcuts on the path to truth. Any release of video before all interviews are conducted, before all critical evidence is evaluated and before all facts are known would jeopardize our ability to learn the truth."
According to the BCA’s preliminary investigation, early Sunday morning, two officers encountered Hughes in an enclosed porch at his home at 905 St. Anthony Ave. At some point, the officers shot Hughes. The BCA identified the officers involved in the shooting as St. Paul Police Officers Matthew Jones and Vincent Adams.
St. Paul police confirm Officers Adams and Jones will be allowed to view the body camera footage before issuing statements to the BCA.
“When officers are reviewing video footage before providing a statement, they’re basically suborning perjury that they’re making up their testimony as to what fits with that video and not what they saw,” said Mike Wold, a former BCA agent.
Wold says it could also alter the lens through which the public views the case.
“I would just encourage all officers out there to think about what they’re going to say, reflect on what happened and go from your own mind, your own heart what you saw, what you felt, and don’t try to match it up and marry it up to a video that will only give one perspective,” said Wold.