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ECPD withholds bodycam footage of fatal shooting, daughter searching for answers

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EL CENTRO, Calif. (KYMA KECY)-The El Centro Police Department (ECPD) faces a lawsuit for neglecting to release a body-camera video of an officer-involved shooting that resulted in the death of an El Centro man last December.

According to ECPD, 50-year-old Manuel Verdugo allegedly charged at police with knives in his hands that he had stolen from the store. Police say they tried to subdue him with a bean bag gun but failed. Three officers then charged their weapons at Verdugo to defend themselves.

What really happened that day is still a mystery for Verdugo's daughter, Stacey.

It's been over five months since Stacey has been fighting to see the bodycam footage from police officers.

"I'm just searching for answers, of what happened that day," says Stacey.

During her own investigation, she was told by a worker at the county coroner’s office that her father was shot at least eight to ten times.

That statement was later retracted and she has yet to see an autopsy report.

Stacey has filed a lawsuit demanding the release of bodycam footage from officers.

“All we are trying to do in the suit is ask the police to follow the law and stop hiding the video. The California legislature passed laws the last couple of years requiring police to turn over video of police shootings within 60 days unless there's a specific written explanation about why those videos should not be turned over," said Alex Coolman, Attorney.

Coolman says trying to get information from ECPD and the Imperial County District Attorney’s office has been impossible.

"The police ignored the deadlines, ignored the court filings, and even till now has not provided any facts at all as to why it should be withheld," said Coolman.

El Centro Chief of Police released a statement Wednesday regarding Verdugo's death.

Stacey says the statement is nothing new and it’s exactly what she was told six months ago.

“I just don't understand, what do they want to investigate. I think they're just trying to cover themselves," said Stacey.

A case conference with the district attorney is scheduled for October, meanwhile, Stacey and her attorney are hoping they’ll get some clarity soon.

As Seen on TV / Crime / Imperial County / Top Stories

Alexandra Rangel

Alexandra Rangel joined KSWT in March 2019 as a multimedia journalist.

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