Judge: Technicality is keeping the Joe Mixon video out of the public eye

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NORMAN, Okla. - Controversy surrounding surveillance video of an OU football continues after a series of court decisions this week.

It's been almost two years since OU running back Joe Mixon was suspended for punching Amelia Molitor in a restaurant on Campus Corner.

Molitor suffered several broken bones in her face, and Mixon entered an Alford plea to the assault charges.

At the time, authorities said the entire assault was caught on surveillance cameras and that video would eventually be made public.

However, it has yet to be released.

Through open records requests, Norman police showed the video to several members of the media in September 2014.

However, the city of Norman refused to make it public.

The video was also shown in court when a number of broadcast organizations sued the city over violation of the Open Records Act.

At the time, Judge Thad Balkman ruled that the video would not be made public but not before it was shown in the courtroom during the case.

Court records from last year show the judge ordered “the subject surveillance video, which is now part of the court record, be preserved.”

Earlier this week, an appeals court said the video is public record and should be released, since it was shown in court  a year ago.

The Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals ruled that copies should be made available through the court clerk's office.

But, that office was never given a copy of the video.

But, Thursday, a judge said it’ll stay sealed due to a technicality for now.

Judge Thad Balkman called a hearing Thursday morning to find out who has the surveillance video.

Despite his previous order to preserve the video as court record, Balkman said the video never made it as part of court record because the attorneys didn't enter it into evidence.

Since it was never entered as evidence, Balkman ruled that the video should remain sealed.

“We obviously disagree, and I believe the Court of Civil Appeals disagreed. I think they clearly found that it’s a part of the decision-making process of the court and considered by the court in making that decision,” said David McCullough, attorney for the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters.

Norman city attorney Rick Knighton told the judge two copies of the video exist.

The city has one, and the victim has the other copy.

We’re told city officials are still trying to decide whether to appeal the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals’ decision.

“We are trying to follow what we believe is the law,” Knighton said.

McCullough said this case could set a strong precedent, adding that this case has warped into a bigger issue regarding the public's right to see the video.

“If you'll recall when this came up, we were starting to deal with body cams and dash cams. That's the purpose of the Open Records Act - to have an informed citizenry, so we can make decisions on whether or not we agree with what public officials are doing,” McCullough said.

Attorneys have 20 days to appeal the higher court’s decision.


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