The Merrimack Superior Court is considering a landmark New Hampshire case on the release of police officers' body camera footage.
On July 6, 2015 Haverhill police officers shot and killed Hagen Esty-Lennon after he reportedly lunged at the officers with a knife. The state Attorney General ruled that the shooting was justified.
Several newspapers, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Hampshire, and the Haverhill Police Department have all requested a public release of the police officers' body camera footage.
Esty-Lennon's family is asking the court to stop the release, primarily because of the negative impact the footage would have on Esty-Lennon's two children.
"The Esty-Lennon family's right to privacy, and the emotional and psychological harm which release of the video of Hagen Esty-Lennon's gruesome death will have on his minor children and others in the family and community, outweigh the public's right to know," wrote an attorney for the Esty-Lennon family.
Others argue that the public has a compelling interest in reviewing police officers' use of lethal force.
ACLU-NH wrote on their website, "We give few government officials as much authority as the power we give to police to take human life based on split-second judgments. Thus, the public has a correspondingly compelling interest in understanding how the police exercise that authority, particularly when lethal force is used on individuals suffering from mental health crises."
As one of the first of its kind, this court case is being watched closely by cities and states across the U.S. considering police body camera regulations.
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