CMPD releases video from 2012 deadly officer-involved shooting - | WBTV Charlotte

CMPD releases video from 2012 deadly officer-involved shooting

Screenshot video provided by CMPD on Monday Screenshot video provided by CMPD on Monday
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has released video from a deadly officer-involved shooting from 2012.

The videos were dash camera videos from two different CMPD officers involved in pursuing 28-year-old Michael Deangelo Laney. The pursuit ended with a shooting that left Laney dead. Investigators said he tried to pull a handgun from his waistband.

According to investigators, officers Anthony Holzhauer and Ryan Shields caught up with Laney on July 2, 2012, after he was seen riding a red scooter that matched the description of a vehicle used to flee the scene of an armed robbery where a person was shot more than a week earlier.

Laney was seen driving the scooter along Beatties Ford Road and when officers attempted to get him to pull over, he jumped off the scooter and ran toward Crestview Drive.

Officers Holzhauer and Shields caught up with him in a front yard and a struggle ensued. As they attempted to take him into custody, Laney reportedly reached for a handgun that was in his waistband. Officer Holzhauer shot him once, fatally striking him in the head.

**EDITOR'S NOTE: The videos embedded below were released by CMPD and are posted in their entirety as provided by the police department to WBTV. Some of the following audio and video files contain graphic images and language and may be disturbing to some viewers.**

OFFICER SHIELD'S DASH CAM VIDEO:

**ADDITIONAL NOTE: Video of Officer Holzhauer's dash camera was also released but YouTube removed the video because it was too long.**

Then, Police Chief Rodney Monroe defended the killing, saying the officers feared for their lives. Prosecutors ruled the shooting was legally justified. 

But Laney’s family insisted from the beginning that the shooting was unnecessary and that officers overreacted.

Last week, Mecklenburg County Superior Judge Lisa Bell ruled that CMPD needed to release video showing the fatal shooting to The Charlotte Observer. The court order petition for the release of law enforcement agency recordings was requested on January 12.

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It marks the second time in as many weeks that the courts approved a petition under North Carolina’s law requiring a judge’s approval to release footage from police body cameras and dashcams.

Laney's family told The Charlotte Observer their concerns have grown over time because Holzhauer has been involved in two other on-duty shootings since Laney died.

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Bell ruled there is a “compelling public interest” in the video, which she had watched. Five hours of footage contained content that was “arguably disturbing” and “unquestionably sensitive,” Bell said.

She asked CMPD to redact the name of Holzhauer’s mother from the recordings before releasing them, citing safety concerns raised by an attorney for the officer. Holzhauer’s mother’s first name is mentioned by a detective calling to get her on the line for him after the shooting.

A statement that was included with the release of the video stated that CMPD supported Judge Bell's decision.

"The release of the footage is consistent with the CMPD’s protocol. Our preference is to always allow for a thorough investigation with the intent to have all sides presented," CMPD's statement read. "We do not oppose the release of video evidence after a case has been thoroughly investigated and adjudicated."

The video was released due to a new state law that went into effect in October, regulating the release of police videos. It called for police to get a court order to release video from dashboard cameras or body cameras and allowed courts to deny such requests for a number of factors including potential interference to an active investigation or disclosing information that could “harm the reputation or jeopardize the safety of a person.”

Earlier this month, Superior Court Judge Jesse Caldwell appeared to become the first judge to approve a petition under the law when he ordered the release of video from the June 2 CMPD shooting of teenager Rodney Rodriguez Smith on North Tryon Street near University City Boulevard. That video was made public last week.

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According to The Charlotte Observer, Mecklenburg District Attorney Andrew Murray provided a detailed written description, after Laney's death, to explain his decision not to pursue criminal charges.

Another officer was reportedly struggling to control Laney and yelled to Holzhauer three times that Laney had a gun.

"Based on the information presented to the District Attorney's Office, we agree there is no evidence that Officer Holzhauer acted unlawfully," Murray wrote in a statement provided with the video Monday. "This review focuses only on North Carolina law regarding the use of deadly force and specifically does not address issues relating to CMPD directives or policies."

"The consistent, believable evidence is that the suspect aggressively resisted apprehension and reached for a loaded handgun while fighting the officers." Murray continued. "Therefore, the use of deadly force was justified under North Carolina law. Consequently, this Office will not pursue criminal charges against either officer involved in this matter."

But Laney’s family, which includes an eyewitness, said that officers had control of Laney’s arms when the shooting occurred.

Antoine Laney, his brother, said seeing the video will help bring closure.

“Getting some answers will be like getting a burden lifted off my back,” Antoine Laney said.

Copyright 2017 WBTV. The Charlotte Observer contributed to this report. All rights reserved.

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