DAVIE, FLA. (WSVN) - A Davie family has filed a lawsuit against the city after they were denied their request to see footage showing the killing their 20-year-old family member.
“We are here to announce the filing of a lawsuit against the Town of Davie for injunctive relief to show the video of the killing of Andre Smith,” said attorney Jose Baez.
Baez, along with attorney Jasmine Rand filed the public records lawsuit on behalf of Smith’s family, who want to see evidence and surveillance video from the day Smith was killed.
“I think this family’s entitled to this. Any family would want to know what happened to their child,” said Baez.
This comes after the department announced on Thursday that they would not and don’t have to release any information yet.
“This investigation began only a week ago, and it is ongoing. Therefore, we are unable to comment on the specifics of the case, and we will not release evidence,” said Davie Police Maj. David Engle.
According to police, Smith was shot and killed Nov. 1 by 38-year-old Matthew Barry after a Craigslist transaction led to an argument and ended in a shooting. Barry has not been charged.
“My client was basically defending himself – plain and simple,” said Barry’s attorney Ken Padowitz.
However, the family is doubtful and wants to see the surveillance video to see what happened. “I need to see it. I need to know,” said Andrea Goulbourne-Smith, the victim’s mother.
The town’s legal adviser Gregg Rossman said authorities do not have to release the video. “The Florida public records law is 119. The victim’s right law is 960. Neither of those give a victim’s next of kin an absolute right to see anything prior to the investigation being done,” he said.
However, Baez said, there is an exception. “The Davie Police Department is claiming that they know the law and we don’t. Sitting to my right is the lawyer who created the law and the exception to this,” said Baez, referring to Rand.
“There is an exception in statute 119 that says you have to provide the next of kin with any audio recording, video recording or photograph that depicts the killing of the person. The killing, in this case, of Andre Smith,” Rand said.
The Town of Davie has 20 days to respond to the lawsuit. 7News contacted Davie for comment, but they said they will not comment on the matter until they review the lawsuit.
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