The Gazette (Colorado Springs): The Teller County Sheriff’s Office is under scrutiny after a mistrial sparked by a deputy’s claim that his supervisors destroyed body camera footage.
After scrapping a trial Aug. 23 for a man accused of vehicle theft, 4th Judicial District Judge Theresa Cisneros ordered the District Attorney’s Office to investigate how footage was recorded – then destroyed – without knowledge by the defense or prosecution.
The body camera use came to light during testimony by Deputy Sanel Lilic, who initially denied during cross-examination that he was wearing a camera during his encounter with the defendant, Cole Simmons.
Lilic returned to the stand later the same day and said he had forgotten he was wearing a camera.
The deputy described being fitted with the camera on the day of Simmons’ arrest as part of a “trial run by the agency” to see if the cameras were effective at night, according to a transcript obtained by The Gazette.
The deputy told the court he handed the footage to a supervisor, who gave it to a commander, who in turn ordered it destroyed because deputies could be heard using profanities in the recording, the transcript shows.
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