BARBER COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – KSN News has obtained bodycam footage of the moments leading up to and after the night Steven Myers was shot and killed by a Barber County Sheriff’s Deputy.
Kristina Myers, Myers’ widow, says she was not given any warning before the release of the video.
“You know I could have been in the living room watching TV, and it could have just come on. No one notified us that they had released it,” says Myers.
It also comes as a shock to her and the family’s legal counsel.
Michael Kuckleman, counsel for the family, “We don’t know why it was released. Up until yesterday the sheriff had been arguing that it was protected under the exception for criminal investigiation.”
Attorney Jeff Jordan, who is representing Sheriff Lonnie Small of the Barber County Sheriffs Office, says they released the footage as part of the Kansas Open Records Act. He says he can not comment on the content of the video. Myers’ family is now pressing for more footage.
Kuckelman says, “We don’t know how many are available. What we do know is they have released a dash and a body cam for 3 of the four officers who were there that night. The 4th officer they haven’t released anything and the fourth officer just happens to be the shooter.”
“We are trying to stay strong, trying to stick together and help the kids get through the christmas holiday without too much of a hiccup,” Myers says.
KSN sought legal counsel from defense attorney Dan Monnat to see if it is common in Kansas for a judge to order the release of the video, like what was done in this case, and what should be expected when the public requests bodycam footage from the police.
“Well, I don’t think it is common but I think it ought to be common because transparency is exactly what we should have in a free country,” Monnat says.
A hearing will take place Friday at Barber County District Court. Both the sheriff and undersheriff have been subpoenad to take the stand. Attorneys representing the family say the purpose of the hearing is to determine if there have been any violations of the Kansas Open Records Act.