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A suburban Los Angeles law enforcement agency fought two years to keep secret the dashcam video of Gardena Police Department officers shooting two suspects, one of whom was fatally wounded. The victims were mistakenly believed to have stolen a bicycle outside a drugstore on June 2, 2013. Video shows police unleashing a volley of gunfire as one of the victims has his arms up while another keeps raising and lowering his hands.
A federal judge ordered the video unsealed late Tuesday at a request of the Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, and Bloomberg News following the city of Gardena settling a federal lawsuit over the shooting for $4.7 million. The city, just outside of Los Angeles, fought until the eleventh hour in its failed bid to convince US District Judge Stephen Wilson in Los Angeles to block the release of the short video from two dashcams fastened to a pair of patrol cruisers. The department said it believed the settlement of the case would include the tape remaining private.
The judge ruled (PDF) that the department’s “argument backfires here—the fact that they spent the city’s money, presumably derived from taxes, only strengthens the public’s interest in seeing the videos.”
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