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Crime

Body camera video not available in Jefferson City police shooting

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

Highway patrol investigators are collecting video from homes, businesses and police dashboard cameras after a deadly Jefferson City police shooting.

However, body-worn camera video will not be part of the investigation because Jefferson City police officers do not have such cameras.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is leading the investigation into the officer-involved shooting that happened Monday near Capital Mall. The patrol said Monday that Clay Willingham, 32, was driving a vehicle with expired tags when Jefferson City police pulled him over.

Willingham showed a rifle but did not listen to the officers' commands to drop the rifle, the highway patrol said in a news release. Officers, fearing for their safety, shot Willingham, the patrol said.

Patrol spokesman Cpl. Kyle Green said in an interview Tuesday that investigators are collecting and analyzing facts to turn over to a prosecutor. Green said the patrol is also working to get witness testimony and phone-recorded videos if possible.

Lt. David Williams with the Jefferson City Police Department said officers do not wear body cameras when on patrol and he is unaware when they will get body cameras.

But Fourth Ward Councilman Derrick Spicer said they city is working to get the funding for body cameras before 2022.

Bill Tackett, a former Cole County prosecutor, said having body camera footage makes it easier for prosecutors when presenting a case to a jury.

Tackett said a lack of body camera video makes it possible for the defense to poke holes in the prosecutors' story and create reasonable doubt.

"If they had a badge camera on we wouldn't be here because we'd know exactly what happened. Body cam footage nine times out of 10 ends the discussion, guilt or non-guilt," Tackett said.

Green said not having body cameras does not make investigating difficult for the patrol.

"It's just one extra piece of evidence, but in this situation I think they will be able to do a thorough investigation and the need of body camera footage isn't necessary," Green said.

This is the second officer-involved shooting in Jefferson City in 2021. On Jan. 3, officers shot and killed a man after he allegedly ran at them with a knife at the Wildwood Crossing shopping complex, also on the west side of the city. No charges were filed against the officers involved.

Cole / Jefferson City / Local News / News / Top Stories / Video

Leila Mitchell

Leila is a Penn State graduate who started with KMIZ in March 2021. She studied journalism and criminal justice in college.

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