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Judge Considers Releasing Video of 2 Tulsa Police Officers Being Shot

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TULSA, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma judge is reconsidering whether to release a video that shows two Tulsa officers being shot during a traffic stop.

David Anthony Ware, 32, had a not-guilty plea entered on his behalf Thursday on four charges, including first-degree murder and shooting with intent to kill in connection to the June 29 fatal shooting of Tulsa Police Sgt. Craig Johnson, 45, and the shooting of Officer Aurash Zarkeshan, 26.

Special Judge David Guten approved a prosecutor’s request on July 6 to prevent release of video footage of the shooting for at least six months. Defense attorney Kevin Adams says footage could refute statements that a Tulsa police detective wrote in an affidavit about Ware reportedly standing over Johnson while shooting him.

Adams says another issue is that the judge’s approval to block release of the video was made before his appointment on July 14 and before he could respond in court.

“I don’t approve of what Mr. Ware did, but let me tell you what, if Mr. Ware was not charged with killing a police officer, we would not be having this discussion,” Adams told Tulsa World reporters.

Assistant District Attorney Kevin Gray said he would not discuss the affidavit but contended that the defense should be able to see the video “due to obligations to exchange discovery, or evidence, rather than a blanket release to anyone who wants to see it.”

District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler has not yet asked for Ware to face the possibility of a death sentence, but Gray said the death of a law enforcement officer while on duty is among the list of aggravating circumstances that can be used when asking for capital punishment.

Adams said the case against Ware will likely be whether a jury agrees that the state has the right to legally execute him in what will be, in his view, an act of retribution for the killing of a police sergeant.

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