COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The district attorney for Teller County is investigating after a mistrial was declared following a deputy’s claim that his supervisors destroyed body camera footage.
District Court Judge Theresa Cisneros wants to know if the evidence was recorded and then destroyed without the knowledge of the defense or prosecution in a case involving a vehicle theft suspect.
Deputy Sanel Lilic initially denied that he was wearing a camera during his encounter with the defendant, Cole Simmons. Lilic later said he had forgotten he was wearing a camera.
The Colorado Springs Gazette reports the deputy told judge he gave the footage to a supervisor, who ordered it destroyed because deputies could be heard using profanities in the recording.
Teller County Sheriff Mike Ensminger denied the sheriff’s office owns or uses body cameras.
“No deputy of mine has ever been authorized to wear a body camera,” Ensminger said.
The judge has issued a gag order in the case.
According to court records, Simmons is free on $1,000 bond and was ordered to return to court for a retrial in November.
Cynthia McKedy, Simmons’ attorney, said the missing footage could have provided evidence about Simmons’ arrest.
Patricia Billinger, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Public Safety, said there is no state requirement that law enforcement officers use body cameras or how to use them.
Information from: The Gazette, http://www.gazette.com