A federal judge has ordered Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department to release the complete body camera footage from the in-custody death of Herman Whitfield III by Jan. 3 as part of an ongoing lawsuit between Whitfield’s family and the city.
A judge from the Indiana Southern District Court previously ruled IMPD must release the footage for discovery in the lawsuit, but the city filed a motion to delay the release, citing an ongoing criminal investigation. The court denied the motion Dec. 27.
The department previously released an edited version of footage in June.
The court found that because a video has already been released, the city’s arguments that the jury pool could be tainted have already “been triggered by the publishing of the edited version,” according to court documents.
The Recorder has filed a public records request to obtain the complete footage.
The department must also produce “any other documents” related to the lawsuit.
Attorneys for Whitfield’s family issued a statement following the order: “They are very pleased with the court’s order and believe it to be just and correct. The family believes the City should have produced the videos months ago.”
Whitfield, 39, died April 25 after his mother called 911 and said her son was having “some sort of episode.”
Police body camera footage shows officers entering the home and attempting to talk to Whitfield, who didn’t appear to understand officers’ questions or directives. He then ran from a bedroom to the kitchen, and then into the dining room, where an officer tased him.
Contact staff writer Jayden Kennett 317-762-7847. Follow her on Twitter @JournoJay.