CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- New body camera video of a 2016 incident is raising questions about the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s policy for releasing footage.
For the first time, the video made public shows the dramatic moments of a deadly officer involved shooting outside a 7-11 on Tuckaseegee Road. It appears to show an armed man pointing a gun at officers before he was shot.
Now, Chief Kerr Putney is explaining why the video is just coming to light now. NBC asked Chief Putney about their policy for releasing body camera video. He says they’re releasing all videos with officer involved shootings; a warning the video is difficult to watch.
Despite the police negotiation shown in the video, the armed man was shot and killed in plain sight.
“I’ve never seen a video that shows a loss of life that I’ve I really wanted to watch more than twice,” says Chief Putney.
It initially came in as a suicide call. Police say the armed man, Sylasone Ackhavong, was wearing body armor. The newly released video appears to show him repeatedly pointing a gun at officers, before they open fire. Ultimately, the officers were cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.
“The term is lawful, but awful, it’s awful to watch anytime you watch somebody have their life taken,” says Chief Putney.
However now, NBC Charlotte is asking questions about CMPD’s policy for releasing body camera video.
The footage involving Ackhavong is just coming to light nearly two years after the incident. Last year, CMPD petitioned the court to release the video.
“This is why we had so much time delay in this one, I have to not only get in front of a judge to get the permission, I also have to give deference to the family, we just think that’s the right thing to do,” says Chief Putney.
It comes after a recent independent study recommended CMPD take new steps when it comes to releasing body camera video.
“We are releasing every situation like this with officers involved,” says Chief Putney. “We heard loud and clear the need to allow for open and honest release of video.”
Chief Putney says mental health also plays a big role in the case, and he wants more help out there for people in need.