SALT LAKE CITY — A judge on Friday ordered the release of courtroom video of the fatal shooting of a defendant who lunged at a witness in a 2014 racketeering trial.
U.S. District Judge John Dowdell also dismissed a lawsuit brought by the family claiming excessive force in the court marshal's shooting of Siale Angilau, 25.
Magistrate Judge Paul Cleary ordered the release of an altered version obscuring faces of law enforcement officers in November, but the federal Justice Department objected. On Friday, Dowdell sided with Cleary's order.
The video was not immediately available to media on Friday but was expected to be released Monday.
The Utah chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists hailed the ruling as First Amendement victory that mutliple news outlets had sought for years.
"We are applaud Magistrate Judge Paul Cleary's decision in November finding the courtroom security video to be a matter of public record, and U.S. District Judge John Dowdell's order on Friday upholding that ruling," McKenzie Romero, who is chapter president and a Deseret News reporter, said in a statement.Comment on this story
The SPJ chapter doesn't take a position on whether the shooting was appropriate, but believes the public has a right to know what happened, Romero said.
In an audio recording of the shooting previously made public, commotion is heard before four gunshots ring out, followed by orders, including "Get down on the ground."
The FBI said Angilau, who died of his wounds, grabbed a pen and charged the witness. He was among 16 Tongan Crip Gang members tried in the case in the downtown federal courthouse that had opened a week earlier.
The U.S. marshal has never been identified but was cleared following an FBI investigation.