LMPD releases body cam footage to find suspect police say shot officer
Graphic body cam footage was released of the shooting on Golden Turtle Circle on June 21, 2017.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A year ago Thursday, Louisville Metro Police put out a press release saying they had captured Dimitri Harris, who had “removed a firearm from his waistband, turned, and fired multiple shots,” striking Officer Brad Shouse in the foot.
However, while police arrested Harris, they did not charge him. In fact, Harris later told WDRB that while he acknowledged leading police on a foot chase near Kemmons Drive between the Watterson Expressway and Goldsmith Lane, Shouse actually accidently shot himself.
Today, at a press conference, Lt. Aaron Crowell maintained that Shouse was shot and asked for the public’s help in finding the shooter, releasing a bit of Shouse’s body camera footage from that night.
“This is an opportunity to bring this back to the public’s consciousness and hope that it stimulates some type of response,” Crowell said.
Police did not release the entire body cam video or any footage from other officers on the scene that night.
In the footage shown to reporters, Shouse gets out of his cruiser and shines a flashlight on a man who is walking away from him. The sound on the video does not immediately turn on.
When the sound comes on, Shouse says he has injuries to his foot and his shoulder. Crowell said the shoulder injury came from a fall after the officer was shot in the foot.
Other officers come to the aid of Shouse, who tells them which way the suspect went.
“I fu--ed up,” Shouse tells officers at one point. Later he said he could not get his weapon out to return fire.
Asked whether Harris is still a suspect, Crowell told reporters Harris was never called a suspect, except by the media, but that he remains a “person of interest.”
Last year, WDRB asked for body camera footage of the shooting, but LMPD denied the request.
While LMPD typically release body camera footage immediately in incidents when officers have shot someone, despite the cases being under investigation, Chief Steve Conrad told WDRB in September that this is a different situation, “where you don’t have the same level of, necessarily, community interest” as when police use deadly force.
Harris told WDRB in August he ran from police because he had a warrant for his arrest, but “I never pulled a gun or anything."
"I never had a gun or nothing," Harris said. “I believe (Shouse) shot himself in the foot.”
After this interview, Jefferson Circuit Court Judge McKay Chauvin signed a search warrant allowing Louisville police to comb through WDRB News' newsroom and access computers, notes and unpublished material gathered for the Harris story.
WDRB appealed, arguing the search warrant was illegal.
Eventually the search warrant was dismissed and a different Louisville judge rejected efforts from police and the Jefferson Commonwealth's Attorney's office to obtain raw video from the Harris story.
"It is a poor way to build (or reject) a case involving a wounded policeman," Judge Charles Cunningham ruled in January. "Are we to understand that LMPD is now going to depend on reporters to generate crucial evidence of criminal wrongdoing in our community?"
The WDRB interview with Harris took place two months after "the police had already staked out a public position" that Harris shot the officer, Cunningham wrote. "If they didn't already have enough evidence to indict him, and thus really need this footage, why did they say such disparaging things in the first place?"
Harris, the judge said, had limited means to try and clear his name and "if the media feel they are going to be beset by subpoenas every time they try to help a citizen air his side of the story, folks might get prosecuted in the media rather than in the courts."
Conrad has declined to comment when asked if Shouse was shot by a suspect or accidently shot himself.
WDRB on Thursday filed an open records request for the complete Shouse body camera footage of the incident as well as those for other officers who were present.
Meanwhile, police and prosecutors say the case is pending and hope someone will provide information.
“We won’t stop until this is solved,” Crowell said. “Whoever this is will be held accountable at some point.”
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