WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Just hours after the deadly shooting last Friday, Wichita police released body camera footage that was taken by an officer who responded to the call.
Police Chief Gordon Ramsay says he consulted with dozens of community members before releasing the video.
“When you hear things, and then when you see it happen with your own eyes, it tells a different story,” says Rise Up For Youth Mentor David Gilkey. “Camera’s don’t lie.”
The body cam footage is from an officer standing to the right of the one who fatally shot a 28-year-old man Friday after police responded to a hostage call that turned out to be a tragic online prank.
The video is seven seconds long and is the only body camera video released that shows what actually happened that night.
“That is a big step in the right direction,” says Gilkey.
It came as a surprise to Gilkey, as was the phone call he says he got from Chief Ramsay before it was released.
“He was just letting me know that he was going to put it out in the media about the call and the shooting and that speaks volumes and my hat goes off to the chief for even doing that.”
Chief Ramsay confirmed the call with Gilkey and 40-50 other people he says he trusted and felt had credibility in the community. He tells KSN this is how the department will be handling things moving forward.
KSN has requested that all body camera video from WPD be released from that night but Chief Ramsay says, in conjunction with the District Attorney’s office, the decision was made to only release those seven seconds of video.
He says it’s the best view and angle of what happened because the camera worn by the officer who fired the shot was pointed down as he was using the sights on his rife.
He says other Wichita police officers were around the corner by a business and did not give a clear view.
Soon, a review board, that was recently approved by the city, will allow a select group of Wichitans to review all use of force body cam footage.
Gilkey says that will be a first in Wichita.
“Now the question might be will they continue doing that? I hope so. Especially when they are trying to put together an advisory board in the community. That is what it is going to look like.”
Chief Ramsay says current Kansas legislation doesn’t give clear instructions on what needs to be released from body cam footage when incidents like this happen. He says often times they don’t show all the video because it is still considered evidence in a criminal investigation. He hopes legislation will change so there are clear instructions to follow.