Videos have become a critical aspect of the latest national reckoning with deadly interactions between the police and the public. In New York, an eyewitness recorded Eric Garner’s death at the hands of a police officer who placed him in a chokehold. In Chicago, a reporter successfully forced the police department to release the footage of an officer firing his gun 16 times in the course of killing Laquan McDonald.
Topher Sanders of ProPublica spent months this year researching Vachel Howard’s death inside a police jail in Los Angeles. The family of the 56-year-old Howard had won a $2.85 million settlement from the city, but two videos that captured what happened that day in 2012 had never been made public.
Sanders recently obtained the two videos. The Howard family was not eager to have the images released, but recognized their potential value.
ProPublica today is making both videos available in their entirety. We are also publishing an edited version, one that combines footage from both videos in an effort to offer our readers a clear and condensed depiction of the deadly episode.
Readers should be aware the images are graphic.