SYRACUSE — Syracuse police released body camera footage Thursday from the scene of the officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of Thomas Hamby on Jan. 8. The shooting was ruled justified by the Utah Attorney General’s Office on Wednesday.
Footage from a body camera worn by Syracuse Officer Robert Gullien begins with the sound of a woman screaming and a volley of gunshots. The woman is presumably Hamby's girlfriend, who first called police to report that he was acting strangely and holding a gun.
The officer is then seen running toward the home where police encountered Hamby, who had stepped out of his front door and pointed a .22-caliber rifle toward the officers.
According to a report from the Attorney General's Office, the officers shot at Hamby, who fell to the ground but continued to point his rifle at them. A second set of shots then were fired by the officers.
Hamby is not seen in the footage, but officers remark that he is still moving after they enter the home and begin searching it.
The officer also tells another that he needed to hold back the girlfriend.
Further law enforcement audio and video of the incident is being held back by the Attorney General’s Office.
The Davis County Sheriff’s Office planned to release, on Thursday, the 911 calls, video and audio from their vehicles, as well as police reports. Media, including a Standard-Examiner reporter, met in the lobby of the sheriff’s office with Sheriff Todd Richardson, Undersheriff Brent Peters and Capt. Jennifer Daley at 11:30 a.m. A press release by the sheriff’s office issued earlier Thursday morning said that all information would be released to those who submitted a request.
“Following Utah Code § 63G-2-204 (GRAMA) requires a person making a records request furnish the governmental entity with a written request containing the requester’s name, mailing address, daytime telephone number (if available); and a description of the record requested that identifies the record with reasonable specificity. At that time, all available camera footage from Davis County Sheriff’s Office and Syracuse Police Department, as well as the 911 phone call and letter from the Attorney General’s Office, will be released,” according to the press release.
Richardson, Peters and Daley all said they had planned to release everything that had been requested through Government Records Access and Management Act requests. Peters and Daley spoke to an investigator at the attorney general’s office while the media waited in the lobby. They then said they were told they could not release any information.
Richardson talked to Missy Larsen, spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office, while he was in the lobby with the media. Richardson said after he got off the phone with Larsen, he was told by her the Attorney General’s Office will release any and all information requested by the media on Monday at the earliest. No reason was given for the delay.
Richardson said his officers did not have body cameras, but they had in-car audio recorders. Richardson said he had originally been told his office could release information requested by the media on Thursday.
“That was our understanding,” Richardson said. “The majority of the information was released yesterday (Wednesday). We’re just waiting for the direction from the AG’s office now to release the information we have.”
Larsen said on the phone with the Standard-Examiner at 5:21 p.m. Thursday, “We have information about the case we will release on a normal GRAMA request. There is certain criteria that has to happen on a GRAMA request to make sure no private information is given out and everything is legal. So we are going through the legal process of the GRAMA request and will get that out as soon as possible in that legal way of doing GRAMA. All agencies have their own way of information disbursement. And we in no way are shutting the door on any other organization. We do not have the legal rights to do that.”
The Standard-Examiner submitted its GRAMA request on Jan. 9 to the sheriff’s office. That request was then sent to the Attorney General’s Office on Jan. 22. The Attorney General’s Office then recommended that the Standard-Examiner send its GRAMA request to Layton Police Department, which is the law enforcement agency investigating the shooting.
Layton police officials then called the Standard-Examiner on Jan. 28 and said the GRAMA request had to be processed through the Attorney General’s Office, which was reviewing the case. The Standard-Examiner then called the Attorney General’s Office and had the GRAMA request resubmitted. Normally the Davis County Attorney’s Office handles the reviews of officer-involved shootings that occur in Davis County, unless there is a conflict of interest.
Davis County Deputy Neal Major, who was one of those involved in the shooting, is the son of one of the Davis County prosecutors. The Davis County Attorney’s Office turned the case over to the Attorney General’s Office the same night of the shooting.
The Standard-Examiner received an email on Feb. 2 from the Attoryney General’s Office requesting additional information.
On Wednesday the Standard-Examiner received an email that said the Attorney General’s Office will consider the GRAMA request as “an amended GRAMA request received on 2-2-15, having an expedited response deadline of 2-9-15.”
The Davis County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release Thursday afternoon apologizing for the confusion about the release of the information that was requested.
The following is the statement from the sheriff’s office:
“Due to a multi-jurisdictional investigation on the January 8th shooting in Syracuse, the Utah Attorney General’s Office, who handled the investigation, has requested Davis County Sheriff’s Office refer all GRAMA requests to their agency. We are sorry for any confusion that may have been caused by this change. We are required to follow the guidelines set forth by Utah Code 63G-2-204 (GRAMA) and 63G-2-206 concerning the Sharing of Government records.”