Tulsa judge denies motion to release body camera video of officer shooting

TULSA, Okla. — Update 07/20/2020:

A Tulsa county judge maintained his decision to withhold releasing body camera video of the shooting of officer Zarkeshan and Sgt. Craig Johnson during a court hearing Monday.

Original Story 07/16/2020:

The defense of the man accused in the shooting of two Tulsa police officers has filed a motion that would allow for the public release of the body camera video.

Tulsa County judge David Guten signed an order earlier this month on the state’s motion to prevent the video release for six months, however, that was before the suspected shooter, David Anthony Ware had counsel.

Ware is accused in the shooting that killed Tulsa Police Sgt. Craig Johnson and injured Officer Aurash Zarkeshan.

The attorney who’s now been hired for Ware, Kevin Adams, says he wants to see the video and he wants it released to the public now.

Prosecutors have agreed to provide the video right away to defense counsel upon a proper “discovery” request.

As for public dissemination, the state stands by its original claim that the video is evidence and that releasing it “will materially compromise an ongoing criminal investigation and/or prosecution and will likely materially compromise the rights of both defendants to receive a fair trial.”

Matthew Hall is also accused in the investigation. Police say Hall helped Ware leave the scene of the shooting on June 29.

The defense argues in its motion filed Friday “the release of the video closer to Mr. Ware’s trial is more likely to ‘compromise’ Mr. Ware’s right to receive a fair trial in this matter than just releasing the video now.”

Adams says he has reason to believe that the claim made in the affidavit alleging that Ware “stands over him and fires three more times into Sgt. Johnson “is an inaccurate description of what actually occurred.”

Judge Guten set a hearing on the matter for Monday afternoon.

Adams entered a plea of “not guilty” on Ware’s behalf.

“This case isn’t going to be about who killed Sgt. Johnson,” Adams said after the formal arraignment on Friday.

“This case is going to be about one thing, and one thing only, and that’s about if the State of Oklahoma will get to execute David Ware.”