Target: Stephen Monticelli, Chief of Police for Harrisonburg, Virginia
Goal: Demand immediate release of body camera footage from the shooting of Michael Pierce Jr.
A recent shooting and subsequent refusal to release body camera footage has left a grieving family with plenty of questions. Michael Pierce Jr. was recently shot and killed by the Harrisonburg police department after an altercation turned violent, but the boy’s father has alleged that the department’s video footage of the incident does not support their official account of the events leading to his son’s death.
Michael Pierce Sr. was shown footage from officers near the event, but when he requested permission to see the cameras on the officers who actually killed his son, the department refused on the ground that the incident was “a personnel matter.” Body cameras on police officers are meant to eliminate suspicion, not raise it. As seen with incidents such as the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, these cameras can shed light on events and serve as evidence when both parties present conflicting reports.
The Harrisonburg department’s secrecy and repeated denials raise a number of questions which can only be answered by the release of the footage. Sign the petition below to demand the immediate release of the video.
Dear Chief Monticelli,
I am writing to voice my concern about your department’s actions as they pertain to the recent shooting of Michael Pierce Jr. Events surrounding the shooting are entirely unclear, and the only way to determine the truth is to examine the footage from your officers’ body cameras. This is not possible, however, because of repeated refusals to release this footage, even in the face of Freedom of Information Act requests.
Your department alleges that the officers acted accordingly, yet your lack of transparency is extremely troubling. Please release this footage so that Pierce’s family, as well as the public, can finally know the truth about this tragic matter.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Aranami