'Long overdue': Judge rules bodycam video in Joel Acevedo's death can be released
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A deadly fight caught on video and a former Milwaukee Police Department officer, Michael Mattioli, is charged. Now, a judge says that video must be released.
Mattioli is charged with killing Joel Acevedo after putting him in a chokehold while off duty. Video of the fight could be a key piece of evidence in the case.
The judge ordered police to blur Mattioli's face and silence sounds you hear him make on the bodycam video. Police say they're working to make those redactions to release the video as soon as possible.
"We advocated for 100-percent release of the video without any redactions, however we think that, we can understand the court's decision," said B'Ivory LaMarr, attorney representing the Acevedo family .
Attorney B'Ivory La Marr says the judge's ruling is a win for police transparency in Wisconsin.
The city was in the process of releasing the video for an open records request when former Officer Mattioli sued to stop the release.
Mattioli told investigators Acevedo was going through his pockets and punched one of his friends following an argument.
Acevedo died from his injuries days later.
Mattioli resigned from the police force after being charged with reckless homicide in the fall.
The judge ruled Wednesday, May 5, the public's interest outweighs Mattioli's privacy concerns, although he did order Mattioli's face and voice to be redacted from the videos because of the pending trial.
Mattioli's attorneys sent a statement saying they are in the process of reviewing the decision and will consider all options going forward as they continue to work to protect Mattioli's constitutional right to a fair trial.
The judge's ruling can be appealed.
LaMarr wants the redactions to be made quickly.
"It has been a year. I think it's long overdue for the release of this video," said LaMarr.
Mattioli has pleaded not guilty to the first degree reckless homicide charge. That case has another hearing set for June.