Case Number: 2021CR1321
Court: District Court, Weld County, Colorado
Clients: KDVR Fox31/Nexstar Media Group, Inc., KUSA 9News, KMGH The Denver Channel, KCNC, CBS4 News, The Associated Press, The Gazette and The Denver Gazette
Objection to Protective Order Filed: Aug. 17, 2021
Background: In June 2021, the Weld County District Attorney’s Office charged Kenneth Amick, a Greeley Police Department officer, with one felony count of second-degree assault stemming from an incident in which he allegedly placed a man he was arresting in a chokehold.
News organizations reported on the charge against the officer and sought access to all unedited body-worn camera and dash camera recordings of the incident that led to Amick’s prosecution. However, Amick objected to the release of the recordings, arguing that their disclosure would likely prejudice the jury. The court granted the officer’s request for a protective order, blocking the public release of the recordings.
On behalf of seven news organizations, Reporters Committee attorneys filed an objection to the protective order with the Weld County District Court, arguing that the requested recordings of the incident should be released under a relatively new Colorado law that requires the public disclosure of audio and video recordings documenting incidents in which there are accusations of officer misconduct.
Quote: “Coloradoans have a significant interest in the disclosure of information about police officers who use excessive force, especially when an officer places a citizen in a chokeholds or neck restraints,” Rachael Johnson, the Reporters Committee’s Local Legal Initiative attorney in Colorado, argued in the media coalition’s objection to the protective order.
Update: During a hearing on Oct. 7, 2021, a Weld County District Court judge ordered the disclosure of the requested bodycam recordings. Johnson told KDVR, one of her clients in the matter, that the order was a “huge victory” and the “first test” of Colorado’s new police accountability law.
2021-08-17: Media coalition’s objection to protective order