More than a month has passed since Colorado Community Media requested release of body camera footage from a July 24 shooting involving Englewood police officer that left an unarmed man dead.
Matthew Neal Mitchell, 22, was shot and killed as police engaged in a shootout with his brother — 29-year-old Phillip L. Blankenship — who was arrested at the scene and later charged with attempted first-degree murder.
In an Aug. 5 ruling, Arapahoe County Court Judge Kelly Ann Lafave sided with Blankenship’s defense team, which requested the footage not be publicly released.
“This motion is predicated on Mr. Blankenship’s state and federal constitutional rights to due process, and a fair and impartial trial by a fair and impartial jury,” wrote one of Blankeship’s attorneys Megan A. Ring, a public defender.
Eric Ross, a spokesman for the 18th Judicial District — which is investigating the July 24 shooting — said the footage “will likely be part of the trial, so after it physically airs in a courtroom, there’s less of an argument to continue the ‘blocking’ of its release.”
A trial date has not been set, Ross said, but Blankenship is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Sept. 21.
Ross said the judge’s ruling does not mean footage “won’t ever be released or available” but that it’s “temporarily blocked from release right now.”
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