MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A group of protesters shut down streets and the light rail line in downtown Minneapolis Friday night. They were demanding justice for the police shooting of Brian Quinones.
Brian Quinones live-streamed himself leading police on a chase from Edina to Richfield last month. Investigators say officers shot him after he got out and confronted them with a knife.
With signs and banners in hand, dozens of protesters marched through train tracks and city streets, calling for change. Before the march, the group gathered in front of the Hennepin County Government Center, demanding the officers involved in the shooting be fired and prosecuted.
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His widow Ashley Quinones shared what life has been like since her husband and the father of her child was killed.
“We raised Cameron together from day one, we both went to college, we had good paying jobs. But even still, we fell victim to the system,” she said.
Ahead of Friday’s protest, Edina Police announced they would not make the dashcam video public at this time, although they did allow Brian Quinones’ family to see it. The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department also won’t release the video until its investigation is finished. There is no timeline right now on when that might be.
“Not releasing the dash camera footage until the investigation has been completed has been the practice in all fatal police-use-of-force cases investigated by Hennepin County,” the City of Richfield said in a statement.
Richfield city officials also apologized for not being able to release video at this time, but “want to ensure that the investigation is properly conducted and not hindered in any way by our actions.”
Investigators are also looking into the private Facebook messages of Brian Quinones. A search warrant filed last month says they think those messages may reveal his state of mind before the fatal encounter with police.
The controversy raises the question: How do departments decide if and when to release dashcam or bodycam footage? By law, the departments are not required to release it.
“There’s still a lot of unregulated process that’s involved with bodycams right now as to when you have to release, how you have to release it, who you release it to. And all of that discretion falls back to the head of the law enforcement agency,” criminal defense attorney Marsh Halberg said.
If departments decide to release footage, the timing can vary greatly.
“The reason that a body cam gets released quickly in one case and not in another is due to many variables. One of the main factors I think is if there’s ongoing investigation to do, if there are other witnesses to talk to, other evidence to gather,” Halberg said.
It took police in Texas less than a day to release body camera footage of a officer shooting and killing Atatiana Jefferson in her mother’s home last weekend. Closer to home, St. Paul Police released body camera footage nine days after an officer shot and killed Ronald Davis, because all the relevant interviews in the case were complete.
“It’s so critical that we release the video so that we can minimize speculation, we can minimize rumor, and as a community move on with the healing that’s necessary,” St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said.
Halberg said that law enforcement is on a “learning curve, where they’ve recognized they’re kind of in a P.R. struggle in society right now in trying to build their reputation back with some members of the community, and part of that is transparency.”
Additional reporting by Erin Hassanzadeh