Man who filmed shooting response acquitted of obstruction

Boulder, Colorado. – Dean Schiller had just left a supermarket in Colorado last year after shopping when he heard gunshots and saw three people lying face down. The independent part-time journalist began live-streaming on his YouTube channel before the officers arrived, then defied dozens of police eviction orders.

He later learned that a friend who worked at the store was one of ten people killed at the King Supers store in the college town of Boulder. Aliwi Alissa, 23, is accused of killing customers, employees and police officers who rushed to her store to try to stop the attacks on March 22, 2021.

On Wednesday, a jury acquitted Schiller of police obstruction, a misdemeanor, after Schiller’s attorney argued that being a temporary distraction does not equate to preventing police from doing their job.

In closing arguments, defense attorney Tiffany Drahota told jurors that the case was not about politeness to police, the courage they showed that day, or respect for the lives of those killed in shootings. .

“In mourning the victims of the King Supers shooting, we know that Dean Schiller is innocent,” she said.

Prosecutors alleged that Schiller ignored 60 orders to leave the store for an hour and a half, hampering police efforts to save lives and secure the crime scene. Deputy District Attorney Myra Gottle said his priority is to continue streaming to get more viewers on his channel.

“Getting attention was a calculated decision and he liked it,” she said in closing arguments at the trial, which began Tuesday.

A clip of the video shown during Schiller’s trial shows some officers telling him to go back for Schiller’s safety and the officers’ safety. At one point he eventually stood behind police tape stretched around the store but refused to cross to the other side of the street. Then he taunts some officers and turns them over.

Drahota noted that Schiller was not arrested, but deputy district attorney Ryan Day said the commander testified that police did not have time to do it and keep him safe while responding to the shooting. Stated.

Shiller, who has frequently documented policing in Boulder, said he felt a weight lifted from his chest after the verdict. He said his indictment made it difficult to fully mourn the loss of his friend Denny Stong, who worked at the store. He said he was responding to a need from the public by live-streaming the shooting reactions.

“It wasn’t that I was making something up. It was real news and I had to show it as long as people wanted to see it,” Schiller said. added that his mind was not so focused on filming.

In a statement, District Attorney Michael Dougherty said police responded to an “incredibly challenging and difficult crime scene,” and that his office interfered with law enforcement’s response to the crisis. said it would prosecute those who interfered.

Schiller’s lawsuit is part of a larger judicial calculus taking place across the United States about how far cops can film police on duty.

In July, the US Court of Appeals based in Denver, which oversees four Western states and two Midwestern states, became the seventh court of appeals. have the right Protected by the First Amendment for filming police while they work. In September, a federal judge blocked the enforcement of a new law in Arizona restricting how civilians and journalists film police.

A man charged with a supermarket shooting has been on hold since December after a judge ruled him mentally incapable of standing trial. increase. At a hearing last week, Judge Ingrid Bakke said there was still a good chance he would be treated to become competent in the “foreseeable future.”

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