The Burlington Police Officers Association is suing the city for the right to review body-cam footage of a fight between an officer and a 54-year-old man who died a few days later.
Douglas Kilburn, 54, of Burlington, was found dead in his home March 14, three days after he was punched in the face by Officer Corey Campbell during an altercation outside UVM Mecical Center
Kilburn’s death was ruled a homicide by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, who said Kilburn suffered a fractured skull and a broken jaw. While the officials cause of Kilburn’s death is “undetermined,” the injuries are listed among the underlying causes, according to the death certificate.
Vermont State Police want to interview Campbell about the March 11 incident. Before that happens, the union wants Campbell to review the footage before speaking to investigators to “prevent misstatements and lapses in memory.”
But Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo, who has said there is no link between the altercation with Campbell and Kilburn’s death, said disclosure of the footage would interfere with the investigation.
“Our policy and the state’s policy on an officer’s ability to review their own body camera footage differ in some ways, but since we have asked the state to investigate this recent incidenton our behalf, we are abiding by their policy at their request,” del Pozo said in a statement.
B.P.O.A Vice President Richard Weinisch said the investigation alone isn’t a good reason to keep the video secret. In a statement, he said the city’s decision to deny Campbell access interferes with his “right to effective legal counsel.”
“Use of force investigations are serious business,” he said, “and police officers who must participate in them should not be subjected to ‘hide-the-ball’ style games.”
A status conference is scheduled for Monday.