▶️Bend PD Chief: We’re under legal obligation to release Safeway shooting video

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The Bend Police Department on Thursday released private surveillance video from their investigation into the Bend Safeway shooting on Aug. 28. A Safeway employee and a customer were both killed before the shooter took his own life.

We sat down with Bend Police Chief Mike Krantz to ask him the question many in the public are asking after the decision to release this video.

Why?

Why release the Bend Safeway shooting video into the public sphere?

“So we have an obligation as a public agency to comply with public records laws and public records requests, which we received many, many dozens public records requests from media outlets during the time that the investigation was open from immediately afterwards all the way up until several weeks into it. We denied all those public records requests successfully. We had legal exemptions that allowed us to deny those because it was an open, active investigation. With us closing the active investigation now with no additional leads to work on and no additional investigative need to have those public records request exempted, we’re in a legal obligation to where we have to release something to satisfy those public records requests. And then what we’re hoping is that this will satisfy those requests to provide a clear picture and to fully satisfy the public interest that was stated in those media requests.”

Krantz added that the requests were mostly from national, regional and local media. 

The video released was from private sources. Did the public records request extend to privately-owned video?

Public records exemptions extended all available evidence or reports during the investigative process. So once the investigative process is complete and that we no longer have a legal exemption, then we have to determine, okay, what can we release to satisfy this interest that we’re being requested from the media.”

What has the Bend Police Department done to prepare Safeway employees and others affected for the release of this video?

“First, we just had a lot of internal discussions and you know, we’re just as anxious about releasing it as our community is about having it released. If it was up to us completely and we had legal exemptions, I would never release this. I don’t think it’s good for the community. I don’t think it’s good for our community healing. It re-traumatizes, potentially, people who were there or present or even the rest of the community who wasn’t there but has felt this impact. However, because the legal requirements, we’ve had those discussions about how do we prepare our community for the best we can. We’ve had a reach out to the Safeway employees, communications with other agencies as well and let them know we’d be releasing this material. We had communication with Deschutes County Behavioral Health in setting up potential areas for people if they need to talk to someone that they can do that, whether it be the crisis stabilization center or a different venue. We’ve had our folks reach out and communicate with the District Attorney’s Victim Assistance Program, who has the vast majority of contact with a lot of people who were there or impacted by the event. We’ve also specifically and personally reached out and met with the victims families and offered the video to be seen by them first before it goes out anywhere else. And we did that internally as well. We’ve had significant numbers of debriefings internally for our members who were there present. We’ve offered our people to see the video. Not everyone wants to and I would highly encourage people not to watch the video.  Again, we’re required to release this material, but we’re not required to tell people to watch it. I would tell people in to to watch it.”

Why would Krantz tell people not to watch the video?

“I just think it’s horrific. It’s violent. There’s already plenty of unnecessary violence in the world. This doesn’t really need to be out there, need to be viewed. I would encourage our media outlets to not post pieces of it for community health and community wellness. I just don’t think it’s something that we need to encourage and have people see more violence that just is unnecessary.”

Did the families ask Bend Police to not release this?

“I don’t know the exact conversations with the families. I know that there was some discussions around not wanting it released. But again, we have an obligation to release it legally. And we know how that process works. W e’re in the public records business a lot. So, you know, we do the best we can to try to minimize the impact by a lot of redaction, what we believe was legal redactions of the process to really protect as much as we could, but still fully give the story of public interest and answer some of the questions that the community has had and the public has had and that the media has had over the last three months about what happened there.  And I think we did that successfully with what we released without trying to release too much.”

Having seen the video, how did your department do in responding to the incident?

“I thought they did great. I couldn’t be more proud of our department. The members in our department are well-trained. We’re well-equipped. They care about the community. They were willing to, as as you can see, there was a very quick response to not only on scene, but to go into a location where they knew someone was armed and shooting with a high-powered rifle, which is one of the most dangerous situations, unknowing where that person would be exactly in the store. It’s one of the most dangerous situations they’re going to go into. And our first responders who got there, they made that decision to care about the community more than their own personal safety at that point. And they went in to protect our community. And very proud of them.”

Central Oregon Daily News has chosen to not place the video on our website, although we have provided a link to the Bend Police website in a previous story.

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