Jun 3, 2014 7:25 PM by Lupita Murillo

TPD releases body cam video

TUCSON - The investigation into the unlawful assembly at Main Gate Square last March continues.

Hundreds of students poured into the streets met by Tucson police after the U of A lost to Wisconsin in the Elite 8 Basketball Tournament.

Fifteen people were arrested and it was captured by news cameras, cell phone video, and body cams worn by Tucson police officers.

Thirty hours of that video was released Tuesday.

On March 29, 50 officers donned body cameras and placed them on their helmets. Forty-seven recorded, roughly 141 hours of video the Board of Inquiry is reviewing.

Chief Roberto Villasenor has seen the video and says "the officers showed a lot of restraint that night, and I think you'll see that. You'll watch 15-20 minutes of them standing their waiting getting bottles, rocks, and things thrown at them."

He adds they didn't take action because they were waiting for resources so they could adequately handle the situation.

Of the 50 cameras, some didn't record due to operator error.

"One of the cameras came back broken because of a bottle that was thrown at it," Villasenor said.

The chief believes the video will open some eyes, as they see from the officers perspective of what they were dealing with.

"Some people will see things that they probably will question and we understand that," Villasenor said.

Questions such as did TPD use excessive force?

"I don't believe that," Villasenor said. "I think we had three internal complaints that came out of this."

He adds, "Sometimes to get people to comply you do have to use physical force."

"We train our officers to use that force which is necessary," Villasenor said. "If they go above what is necessary and we deal with that."

However, the one video that the public is very interested in from the police perspective, Sgt. Joel Mann pushing a student over a bench.

"Until the internal affairs complaints are completed that video won't be released," Villasenor said.

The Board of Inquiry should be wrapping up its investigation in about a month. Tuesday, they were conducting interviews with officers who were involved in the incident.

The internal affairs investigation should also be completed soon.


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