State police reject FOIA request for dash-cam video in Danville shooting

State police reject FOIA request for dash-cam video in Danville shooting

DANVILLE — State police have denied a request to release dash-cam video from a Danville police car at the scene of an officer-involved fatal shooting earlier this month.

In a written response Friday to a Freedom of Information Act request from The News-Gazette, state police said releasing the video would interfere with a pending law-enforcement proceeding and obstruct an ongoing criminal investigation.

The response went on to say that investigators are still identifying and interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence in their probe of the June 12 fatal shooting of DaNathe M. Gulliford, 34, in the 600 block of Harmon Street in Danville.

Later that same day, Danville police released basic information about the incident, but did not identify the officer who fired the fatal shot.

The shooting happened after a call about a domestic disturbance at a residence in the 600 block of Sherman Street, where a man later identified as Mr. Gulliford reportedly threatened someone with a gun and where a 39-year-old woman and 43-year-old man were injured.

A description of Mr. Gulliford, his vehicle and its license-plate number were put out over the police radio, according to Danville police, and two officers — a veteran and a trainee — stopped the vehicle on Harmon Street. After repeatedly ordering Mr. Gulliford to exit the vehicle with his hands showing, according to Danville police, he didn't comply initially.

When he did leave his vehicle, authorities said, he was seen with a firearm in his hand. At some point, according to Danville Public Safety Director Larry Thomason, the officers fired at Mr. Gulliford, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Friday's response from state police stated that releasing further information, including videos, "would considerably impair the Illinois State Police investigation. Allowing the public to see the videos would be extremely damaging. Witness testimony could be influenced by what they see on the videos, which means it could be prejudiced or biased.

"Also, it could inhibit witnesses from coming forward and impair their willingness to cooperate with the investigation. Furthermore, ISP is still attempting to obtain additional evidence. If the reports/videos are publicly disseminated, the evidence ISP has not had the opportunity to collect could be compromised."

Last week, three Danville alderman released a joint statement calling for the release of any video of the incident. In their message, Lloyd Randle, Brenda Brown and Rickey Williams Jr. emphasized the importance of the investigation running its course, adding that "action without evidence could be detrimental to both the outcome of the investigation and our community."

But as elected officials, the three aldermen added, they "publicly request to review any video and/or audio footage of the incident that exists and that any such footage be released to the public post haste."

The aldermen first made their request to Danville police and city officials, but Thomason said all evidence has been turned over to state police for their investigation.

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