The death of Officer Stewart rattled the small mountain town of Flagstaff, Arizona. Officer Stewart was responding to a domestic violence call. After Officer Stewart had a conversation with the suspect, the suspect pulled out a revolver and shot Stewart. He then turned the gun on himself.
Flagstaff Police Department released Office Stewart’s body camera footage, showing the brutal killing. According to a report by the LA Times, members of Flagstaff PD were showed the video footage and the Stewart family was notified before it was released to the general public.
Although releasing this footage serves to educate the public and address unanswered questions, I think it’s irresponsible on the part of the Police Department. Officer Stewart lost his life in the line of duty. He had a short lived life. He left behind loved ones. The public knows how he died; they don’t need to see the YouTube videos of his murder.
The only time video footage like this should be released should be in a courtroom, if and when a suspect is being convicted. Allowing the media to spread this footage encourages other men and women to harm our law enforcement officers. They see people who committed a similar act receive attention in the media. Then they want that “attention” and “stardom” they would otherwise fail to see.
I have always been proud to have called Flagstaff my home during college. I’ve always considered it my second home but I’m absolutely appalled by FPD’s decision to release such sensitive material.
May Officer Stewart’s memory live on in his family, friends and loved ones and not through the eyes of the media.