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Maslon Attorneys Serve as Pro Bono Counsel in Lawsuit Filed to Force the Release of Squad Camera Videos Documenting the Philando Castile Shooting

September 2, 2016

Maslon attorneys Haley Schaffer, Melissa Muro LaMere, Erica Holzer, and Jevon Bindman joined Chuck Samuelson and Teresa Nelson of the ACLU-MN to announce a lawsuit on behalf of the ACLU-MN against Minnesota's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to force the release of all squad camera video(s) documenting the police killing of Philando Castile in July 2016. The ACLU-MN argues in its complaint that the public has a right to access this footage and the Defendants' refusal to release it violates the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.

A press release issued by the ACLU-MN stated the following:

"Squad camera video is presumed to be public data. The video from the Castile shooting should have been released immediately. However, the ACLU-MN and others who have asked for the videos have been denied," stated Charles Samuelson, ACLU-MN. "It's troubling that under the circumstances of the Castile shooting, this otherwise public data is being purposefully withheld."

The Defendants have kept this video private, claiming that it constitutes "criminal investigative data." However, Minn. Stat. § 13.82, subd. 2 expressly states that Arrest Data is not subject to the statute governing criminal investigative data. Moreover, even if the videos are criminal investigative data, the ACLU argues that they should be released because the public benefit of disclosure outweighs any potential harm.

"Releasing the videos would not impede the Castile investigation, especially because the shooting occurred almost two months ago. Squad cam video is routinely released upon request in other jurisdictions, regardless of the status of the case. The Defendants have no legal basis to withhold the release of the videos," stated Haley Schaffer of Maslon LLP.

Philando Castile's family is not affiliated with the case.

View full ACLU-MN Press Release

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