INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Video of a struggle between an unarmed black man and the white Indianapolis officer who fatally shot him won't be released until authorities have completed their investigation into last week's shooting, a prosecutor said Monday.
The footage must remain confidential to protect "the integrity of the investigation" into the April 5 fatal shooting of Kevin Hicks, who allegedly assaulted his wife shortly before the shooting, said Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry.
A security camera outside a gasoline station recorded Hicks' struggle with Patrolman Robert Carmichael — a six-year department veteran whose name police released Monday — but did not capture the actual shooting, police said.
"It is not only my decision that the video here will not be released, it is my responsibility to see that it is not released" until the police investigation is done and a decision is made on possible charges, Curry said at a news conference with Indianapolis Police Chief Troy Riggs.
Curry added that releasing the video could undermine investigators' efforts to obtain firsthand witness accounts of what happened, while Riggs urged the public to have "some patience" with the investigation.
"We will get to the truth, but it takes time," he said.
Several black ministers who had planned their own news conference Monday to discuss Hicks' shooting postponed it after monitoring Curry's news conference. The Rev. Charles Harrison said the group delayed their event in part because they were consulting with leaders in other cities, including Baltimore, New York and Chicago, where black citizens have been fatally shot by police.
"We don't want to inflame the community. We want the community to stay calm while we get some answers about what happened," said Harrison, who's the leader of a black ministers group called the Ten Point Coalition.
Carmichael, the 28-year-old officer who shot Hicks, has been placed on paid administrative leave.
Before the shooting, Hicks' wife called 911 and told dispatchers her husband was assaulting her as she drove along a street with Hicks in the front passenger seat and their young child as a passenger, police said.
Hicks' wife then saw a marked police car sitting in a gas station parking lot, turned into that lot and pulled up next to Carmichael's car, telling him that her husband was attacking her.
Carmichael tried to "defuse the situation," and Hicks left the car and began talking to his wife and the officer, according to the police account.
When Hicks joined Carmichael on the car's driver's side, Hicks began assaulting the officer, police said. Carmichael tried to use his Taser gun on Hicks, but witnesses said the stun gun "was knocked from his hand" police said. Carmichael then tried to back away from Hicks but both men fell to the ground — and outside the range of the surveillance camera, police said.
"Witness statements indicate Hicks may have attempted to gain control of the officer's gun during this struggle. The officer discharged his weapon, striking Hicks," according to the police statement.
After the shooting, police said Carmichael had suffered a possible broken hand and a human bite wound to that hand, along with a possible concussion in his struggle with Hicks. Capt. Rick Riddle, a police spokesman, said Monday that Carmichael has asked that no additional information be released on his injuries.