Aug 6, 2015 11:07 PM
Judge will decide fate of police shooting videos
CONCORD - Judge Peter Fauver is expected to release his decision Friday on whether or not videos taken on the day a Canterbury man was fatally shot by police can be inspected by the public.
Hagen Esty-Lennon, 41, was shot and killed by Haverhill police on July 6 in Bath. Investigators say he stabbed himself, and then charged at two officers with a knife in his hand.
Members of the media have requested a copy of three body camera videos, as well as video taken from a cruiser's dash camera, under the state's Right to Know laws, which allows every resident access to government records.
On Thursday, attorney Bill Chapman argued in open court for media access to the videos.
"The heart of the Right to Know law is to find out what the government is up to," Chapman said.
The former wife of Esty-Lennon is against the release of the videos, saying to release them to the public through the media would be a violation of her children's privacy. Esty-Lennon left behind a seven and nine-year-old. They are both currently in counseling.
"Why does the public need to see this video?" Diane Puckhaber, the woman's attorney, asked Fauver.
She says to let the media have the videos, where they can be replayed ad nauseam, would devastate Esty-Lennon's children.
"Please, please, protect these children. The damage to them would be irrepairable," Puckhaber said.
The Attorney General's Office and a lawyer representing the town of Haverhill both agreed that portions of the video should be released, but graphic sections should be edited out.
Andy Hershberger of WMUR-TV went before Fauver and said all of the videos should be released, unedited, calling them a public document.
After the hearing, NH1 News asked attorney Peter McGrath, who is representing the estate of Esty-Lennon, why he thinks only portions of the videos should be released. He liked the situation to a rape case, where the media is often given the initials of a victim, but not their entire names.
"The public has a right to know. You have to balance that with a right to privacy," McGrath said.
The Attorney General's office is investigating the shooting, but no charges against the police are expected.
Follow Kimberley Haas on Twitter @KHaasNH1.