Amidst Tyre Nichols’ body camera video release, Alabama body camera video can be hard to come by

Memphis leaders decided to release the video they say shows what happened to Nichols.
Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 7:01 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Across the country, people anxiously waited to see the body camera video showing what led to the death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols.

The five former Memphis officers accused of brutally beating him face several charges including murder. Nichols died from his injuries a few days after the beating.

Memphis leaders decided to release the video they say shows what happened to Nichols.

In North Alabama, law enforcement agencies rarely release video in cases where agents use deadly force. They don’t have to following a 20-17 Alabama Supreme Court decision allowing police agencies to release video at their discretion.

“In the state of Alabama, after a grand jury indictment, a judge can order what would otherwise had investigative privilege and order those investigative materials, discoverable, to the public or media or whoever may deal with records’ request,” former United States Attorney Jay Town said.

That happened in the case against former Huntsville Police Department officer William Darby.

HPD officials released his body camera footage after his conviction in 2021. Town says body cameras are a great tool of transparency, as long as it doesn’t impede an ongoing investigation.

“Any time we have more transparency and it doesn’t negatively impact the investigation — which nobody wants,” Town said. “The victim’s family doesn’t want that, the community doesn’t want that. Only the defendant would want that to happen.”

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