ATLANTA — After a deadly shootout between a protester and Georgia State Patrol troopers, many are calling for the release of bodycam footage.
However, Georgia state troopers are not required to use bodycam footage when working. The only exceptions in the state are those outside of the state Capitol and Jekyll Island.
The force relies on dash cameras to record officers' actions on scene. The problem is, dash cam footage may not shed any light.
The shooting happened in a wooded area, the future site of the Atlanta Police training center, or as critics call it, "Cop City." Troopers said several law enforcement agencies worked to clear out protesters opposed to the facility when they encountered Manuel Esteban Paez Teran.
Troopers said Paez shot at law enforcement who returned gunfire, killing the 26-year-old. One trooper currently remains in intensive care. Since the shooting took place in a wooded area, dash cam footage wouldn't have been able to capture it.
This isn't the first time a shooting involving Georgia state troopers happened off camera. Last year, investigators with 11Alive requested recordings from deadly shootings involving GSP that spanned back to 2017.
Out of the 11 shootings involving GSP, nine happened out of frame. Only two were captured on camera at a distance, and they don’t tell the full story.
Lawmakers proposed a bill in 2016 that would require all law enforcement agencies to wear body cameras, but it got shot down by the Georgia House.
11Alive is still working to confirm if any other agencies have footage of the deadly shooting.
So if GSP doesn't have body cam footage, who does?
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed that the operation involved several law enforcement agencies including:
- The Atlanta Police Department
- Georgia State Patrol
- Department of Natural Resources
- DeKalb County Police Department
Although DeKalb County Police and the APD are required to wear body cameras, no other agencies captured the shooting. However, APD officers who were involved in the operation generally, away from the shooting, were wearing body cameras and may have footage related to the incident.
Those videos are not yet being released, though.
APD said: "There were no APD officers with the Georgia State Patrol at the time of the shooting. Body Worn Camera Footage from our officers is part of an on-going investigation and is not being released, at this time."