A Wake County Superior Court judge ordered the release of the body-worn camera footage showing Raleigh police killing Daniel Turcios on Wednesday. Turcios was shot to death by a Raleigh police officer in front of his wife and children after police responded to a rollover crash on Interstate 440 near New Bern Avenue last month. 

Judge Brian Collins agreed to release the footage to the public with a few alterations, including blurring graphic images of Turcios’s body and injuries and personal information about witnesses at the scene. Collins said he did not believe the release of the footage would interfere with the State Bureau of Investigation’s probe and Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman noted that most key interviews in that investigation had already been completed. 

“I find that release of these videos is necessary to advance the compelling public interest,” Judge Brian Collins told the court.

Turcios was killed on January 11 after he was shot five times by a 25-year-old Raleigh police officer. Police had responded to the rollover crash, which witnesses say knocked Turcios unconscious. When he awoke, Turcios was confused and disoriented. He did not speak English, and when police arrived, the family says he did not understand officers’ commands. 

Officer W.B. Tapscott, who shot and killed Keith Collins in 2020 but was never charged in the incident, fired a taser at Turcios’s back as he tried walking away from police. Five officers then swarmed Turcios after he fell to the ground. Police claim Turcios swung a pocket knife (which is too small to be visible in the videos taken by witnesses at the scene) at officers, prompting Officer A.A. Smith to fire his weapon twice at Turcios. Five seconds later, while Turcios was already on the ground, Smith discharged his weapon three more times.

Turcios’s wife and two children witnessed the incident and were shouting at police not to harm Turcios.

“He was killed like a dog,” Turcios’s wife, Rosa Jerez, told reporters last month. 

Advocates from Emancipate NC supported the release of the footage.

“Transparency is critical to public trust,” executive director Dawn Blagrove told the INDY. “Everyone should have an opportunity to see how and why a man was shot to death in front of his family.”

An investigation into the incident is ongoing. After the SBI completes its probe, Freeman will decide whether to pursue charges against any of the officers involved. 

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Follow Senior Staff Writer Leigh Tauss on Twitter or send an email to ltauss@indyweek.com.