Why did it take a month for police to release body cam footage in Desmon Ray case?

BPD releases body cam video of Desmon Ray, Jr. shooting

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) -Why did it take a month for us to finally see the body camera video in the Desmon Ray case?

Some say the video should have been released sooner, but in Alabama in these type cases, its usually up to state investigators and they can release it on their time.

Our initial request to see the body camera video was denied last week by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency citing an on-going investigation. But Tuesday, Police Chief Patrick Smith said there has been a lot of misinformation out in the community about what happened and he wanted to make sure the public has the facts, so that’s why he decided to release the video.

In Alabama, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency typically investigates officer-involved shootings and they can keep investigations under wraps for what seems like forever in some cases.

WBRC law enforcement analyst Ted Sexton, who is a former Tuscaloosa County Sheriff and Homeland Security chief, explains why that can happen especially with police body camera video.

“Chief Smith also has to be leery of impeding an on-going investigation by ALEA so if ALEA is the lead, I would imagine there was some sort of negotiation to be able to release the footage today,” Sexton said.

Smith did mention today a negotiation of sorts with ALEA on releasing the video. When it comes to transparency, Smith says BPD isn’t trying to hide anything and wants the public to know the investigation will be handled above board.

Copyright 2021 WBRC. All rights reserved.