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Judge authorizes release of body camera footage in Jason Walker shooting

Video shows statements made by witnesses at scene of fatal shooting by an off-duty deputy

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A Superior Court judge on Thursday authorized the release of police body camera footage that shows the statements made by three witnesses at the scene of the fatal shooting of Jason Walker.

The decision comes after Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins filed a petition in Cumberland County Superior Court earlier this week asking that the footage be released.

Meanwhile, a news conference and rally are scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday at the Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church on Deep Creek Road. Prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who said Tuesday that he is representing the Walker family, is expected to attend along with members of the family.

“Join us tomorrow at 8 PM as we rally for justice for Jason Walker!” Crump posted Wednesday on his Facebook page.

On Jan. 11, Crump posted, “Witnesses at the scene of Jason Walker's death are disputing claims that he jumped onto deputy Jeffrey Hash's car. This lack of answers is UNACCEPTABLE! Walker's family, including his young son, deserve transparency into why he was senselessly killed.”

Fayetteville police attorney Michael Whyte filed the paperwork to provide the body camera recording for in-camera review and to provide a notice of hearing with the courts on Tuesday.

The court conducted an in-camera review of the recording, and on Thursday, Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons signed off on the request.

“The court concludes that Chief of Fayetteville Police – Chief Gina Hawkins is authorized to the release of the recording,” the document reads.

With the judge's authorization, the order is returned to the city of Fayetteville. The city has permission to give out the video to anybody who asks, according to trial court administrator Ellen Hancock.

The petition appears to be an attempt to refute statements made by witnesses and information that has gone viral on social media. 

The filed petition reads:

“On Jan. 8, 2022 at approximately 2:17 p.m., the FPD responded to the area of Bingham Drive/Shenandoah Drive in reference to a reported shooting. A witness reported that Jason Walker ran out into the road and jumped on the vehicle driven by Jeffery Hash. At some point during the altercation, Mr. Hash fired his weapon at Mr. Walker, resulting in Mr. Walker’s death.

“Two witnesses have made comments on social media, released a video, and spoke at a protest regarding this incident, generating significant public attention. The body worn camera of officers captured the statements of three witnesses. FPD is seeking public release of the witness statement recordings to advance compelling public interest, release would not create a serious threat to the fair administration of justice. Video of the incident has already been released by persons present at the time and has generated significant public attention.

“Special Prosecutor Kimbertly Spahos stated her position on this matter is they do not consent to release but do not oppose release.”

The State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting. Walker’s death has led to nightly protests demanding justice and an arrest. No charges have been filed.

Hash, who has been placed on administrative leave, has said Walker pulled off the windshield wipers of his vehicle and began beating the windshield, eventually breaking it. He said his wife and daughter were in the vehicle with him and felt he had to protect them.

Hawkins said during a news conference Sunday that the black box computer on Hash’s vehicle showed no impact “with any person or thing.’’ 

Michael Futch covers Fayetteville and education for CityView TODAY. He can be reached at mfutch@cityviewnc.com. Have a news tip? Email news@CityViewTODAY.com.

Fayetteville, off-duty deputy, Jason Walker, shooting, investigation, State Bureau of Investigation

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