Will judge's ruling in body camera video fight matter to the case?

 Ofc. Cory Campbell
Ofc. Cory Campbell (WCAX)
Published: Jul. 2, 2019 at 5:47 PM EDT
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Reaction from the lawyer of a Burlington police officer under investigation in connection with a man's death. A judge has ruled the officer can see his body camera video from the altercation.

Our Cat Viglienzoni has learned Ofc. Cory Campbell will get to see that video soon. But what's still unclear is whether Campbell seeing it will matter in the case at all.

"It's a helpful decision to our client," said Richard Cassidy, the attorney for the Burlington Police Officers' Association.

Cassidy is pleased a judge on Monday ordered the release of the body camera video of his client, Ofc. Cory Campbell, in a scuffle with a man who later died. Cassidy says not seeing the video interfered with his client's right to counsel.

"It was hard for me to try to advise him about whether to give a statement without knowing what's there on the video, so I think what it potentially does, if we get the video and we get a chance to look at it, is it gives him a chance to tell his side of the story to investigators. And we'd like him to have that," Cassidy said.

Campbell has seen the video from the night of March 11 once before, right after the incident outside the UVM Medical Center. Police say Douglas Kilburn, 54, got into a fight with Campbell and Campbell defended himself. But Kilburn died three days later. The medical examiner ruled his death a homicide, citing skull fractures as one factor.

Campbell wanted to see the body camera video again before talking with Vermont State Police during their investigation, and was told it wasn't their policy even though it was the policy of Burlington police.

Cassidy says the video would help refresh Campbell's memory.

"Any misstatement that they make, if it can be painted as an untruthful statement or as a lie is the end of a police officer's career. So, we don't want him to be in a situation where he makes a mistake, even an honest mistake," Cassidy said.

But even without Campbell's statement, the investigation moved forward. In May, state police turned it over to the Vermont attorney general's office for review. That's where it remains now. So it's unclear if or when Campbell is allowed to see the video, if the investigation would be reopened or if a decision will come without it.

"I'd love to see the video tomorrow and help to get this wrapped up and resolved quickly," Cassidy said.

State police say if they need to conduct more interviews in the Campbell case, they will coordinate with the attorney general's office.

Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo told WCAX News on Tuesday that the city filed its lawsuit because state police wanted them to.

"Burlington Police Department and the city are going to comply with this court order and show the officer his body camera footage. It's also our written policy and it's been longstanding to show officers their body camera video before they speak to investigators. So, this is, for the most part, in compliance with our longstanding policies," del Pozo said.

The chief says it's up to the city attorney when Campbell will see the footage, but it will likely be within the next day or so.

And he said everyone is looking forward to a resolution.