Phoenix police released bystander videos that captured the hectic moments surrounding a March 11 officer-involved shooting, which left an officer and a pregnant woman with stab wounds to the chest and a murder suspect in the hospital for weeks.

The officer's considerable restraint was a feather in the department's cap and a departure from the viral bounty of amateur videos depicting police across the nation deploying violent, if not excessive, force.

But the videos' release was not welcomed by all. Prsecutors had asked a Superior Court judge to restrict the Phoenix Police Department from releasing the footage, a move they said would protect the victims and ensure an unbiased jury pool should the suspect go to trial.

Attorneys for The Arizona Republic and 12 News opposed the ban based on public-records laws, convincing a judge to deny the state's request. Prosecutors narrowed their arguments in a motion this week to protect the defendant's rights, but the city of Phoenix released the videos in response to the media's public-records request.

The case presents a complex battle of opposing rights in a government with presumed transparency and an increasingly chronicled sphere of police work.

"This is an emerging hot topic around the country," said Ballard Spahr LLP partner David Bodney, who represented The Republic and 12 News in the case. "States are considering how best to address public access to police body camera and citizen video recordings."

Related Practice

Government Relations