In a somber tone, Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin questioned the necessity to release body camera footage that depicted two Tulsa police officers being shot in the head following a June 29th traffic stop.
David Ware refused to exit his vehicle after it was determined by officers that the vehicle needed to be towed due to an expired tag. Following multiple commands, the use of a Taser and O.C. spray, Ware exited the vehicle and shot Officer Aurash Zarkeshan and Sergeant Craig Johnson in the head.
Attorneys for Ware have been tying to get the body camera footage released saying it “contradicts” official police reports. Despite objections by the Tulsa Police Department and the District Attorneys Office,
District Judge William Musseman released the footage saying that “state law grants the public the right to know what the videos show.”
Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin didn’t mix words at a Monday press conference releasing the video”
“We are supposed to be a civilized society. We are supposed to be a society that is different and modern. Yet, to me it seems as though criminals have more rights than what you and I do. They have more rights than what our law enforcement officers do. You would never be allowed to publicly see the execution of a criminal, yet today, you get to publicly see the execution of an officer. What kind of society is that?”
Speaking about the contradictions that Ware’s attorney has implied, Franklin said that “Realistically, the discrepancies don’t matter. It doesn’t matter if that suspect stood one foot in front of our officer, over our officer, and fired the fatal round, or if he was six feet or seven feet back. Doesn’t matter. Does not matter at all. Doesn’t matter if he walked away or if he trotted or skipped or jogged or did cartwheels away from the scene. Doesn’t matter. Two officers were gunned down.”
The Editorial Team at Law Officer has made the decision to not publish the video. Upon review, it was one of the most awful scenes we have seen in over two decades in publishing.
Sergeant Johnson has a surviving wife and two young children. In our opinion, after seeing this video, regardless of what the judge said, it would have been worth going to jail for contempt.
That is how utterly ridiculous it is that the agency was forced to release this video.
For one, look for the defense attorney to now say the potential jury is tainted among other ridiculous things that cop killer attorneys do.
Second, if this is the law, then the law must change.
It is time to stop treating law enforcement like second class citizens.
We agree with Chief Franklin…..What kind of society is this?