An armed robbery case could hinge on Metro Police body camera footage that no longer exists.
Defense lawyers are asking a judge to dismiss charges against two men, because the video was automatically deleted.
Usually, the release of body camera video makes headlines. Tuesday, it’s a video that no longer exists that generated a legal battle.
Defense lawyers say the video is important evidence that Metro should have preserved.
Prosecutors say it’s not material to the case, and there are other recordings that can give the defense the same information the video would have shown.
Metro Police Officer Jason Weeks testified that he did not flag the body camera video for preservation after speaking with the alleged victim of an armed robbery.
He said he did not consider the footage evidence. Since no one else flagged it for preservation, it was automatically deleted by the system after 45 days.
As part of a defense motion to dismiss the case, the head of Metro’s body camera program was called to testify about whether the video should have been retained.
“This was a felony arrest. Does that mean that this video should have been tagged for preservation?” the prosecutor asked.
“It should have been tagged with the felony category and retained for the felony time period, yes,” Metro Police Sgt. Peter Ferranti replied.
“At this point, I’d ask for a dismissal based on the testimony today and what the policies are,” said defense attorney Monique McNeill. “The lack of training, the lack of information officers have out on the street, it rises to the level of bad faith.”
“This video was deleted by the computer system. It was not destroyed by Metro. The video is not material, if the court decides the video is material. There’s no way this was done in bad faith,” said prosecutor Kristina Rhodes.
Prosecutors said the statement recorded by the body camera was also recorded on an open telephone line during a call to the dispatch center.
The judge is taking the matter under advisement and said she would rule shortly on the motion to dismiss the case.