DENVER | A judge on Thursday ordered the release of police camera footage of an incident in which a Greeley officer is accused of using a chokehold during an arrest, siding with news media that argued a new Colorado law requires disclosure of video upon request involving alleged police misconduct.
Officer Ken Amick was charged with second-degree assault on June 28 after he allegedly put a suspect in a chokehold on June 7. In July, Weld County District Court Judge Vincente Geraldo Vigil blocked the release of footage after Amick and prosecutors argued it could prejudice a potential jury.
A coalition of news media petitioned for the release, arguing a Colorado law enacted this year in response to nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis requires that footage be made public, upon request, when a complaint is lodged against a police officer.
Vigil reversed that ruling Thursday and ordered the Weld County District Attorney’s Office to release the video as soon as possible, KDVR-TV reports. He said concerns about its influence on jurors can be dealt with during jury selection.
Vigil also said the defense could seek a change of venue if it can prove pre-trial publicity requires it.
Amick, who is on administrative leave without pay, is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 22.
Colorado law requires officer body camera footage to be released within 21 days if a complaint is filed against an officer. It allows for prosecutors, officers and police departments to request delays when criminal cases are pending.
Colorado law also bans the use of chokeholds by law enforcement.
Rachael Johnson, a Colorado-based attorney for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, had argued in an objection to the July order that “Coloradans have a significant interest in the disclosure of information about police officers who use excessive force, especially when an officer places a citizen in a chokehold or neck restraints.”
The media coalition represented by Johnson includes KDVR-TV, KUSA-TV, KMGH-TV, KCNC-TV, The Associated Press, The Gazette of Colorado Springs and The Denver Gazette.