Po­lice want to keep 911 tapes sealed in shoot­ing at busi­ness

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Local - BY ANNA DOUGLAS adou­[email protected]­lot­teob­server.com Ob­server reporter Jane Wester con­trib­uted. Anna Douglas: 704-358-5078, @ADou­glasNews

A Char­lotte busi­ness owner’s call to 911 about shoot­ing and killing a sus­pected bur­glar may not be re­leased if a judge agrees to let the po­lice de­part­ment keep the au­dio records sealed.

In North Carolina, 911 tapes and po­lice dis­patch ra­dio traf­fic are sub­ject to dis­clo­sure un­der the state’s pub­lic records law. Cer­tain edit­ing of the au­dio is some­times done to pro­tect crime vic­tims or the iden­tity of wit­nesses.

But, on Fri­day, the Char­lotte-Meck­len­burg Po­lice De­part­ment filed court pa­pers ask­ing a judge to “pre­vent dis­clo­sure of pub­lic in­for­ma­tion” from 911 calls made Aug. 6.

The po­lice de­part­ment says it’s wor­ried that if it’s forced to re­lease the calls, it could jeop­ar­dize a fair trial for the busi­ness owner, who was crim­i­nally charged Thurs­day. North Carolina law al­lows po­lice de­part­ments to seek ex­cep­tions to pub­lic records law by petitioning a judge.

In this case, the 911 calls stem from a shoot­ing and sus­pected break-in that hap­pened around 4:30 a.m. Mon­day at the Amer­i­can Beauty Gar­den Cen­ter on In­de­pen­dence Boule­vard.

Po­lice were first called by an alarm com­pany. Around the same time, the gar­den cen­ter owner, Alan Corder, 49, called 911 to say he was go­ing to the busi­ness, ac­cord­ing to CMPD.

Corder told 911 call­tak­ers he could see a per­son in­side via a se­cu­rity cam­era feed, po­lice have said.

When Corder ar­rived, he found the front door glass of his busi­ness smashed and the sus­pected in­truder, 20-year-old Justin Tyler An­der­son, fled through the front door, po­lice have said.

Corder called 911 back to say “he had just shot some­one,” ac­cord­ing to CMPD.

When of­fi­cers ar­rived, they found An­der­son’s body out­side the store, lay­ing be­hind the busi­ness. An­der­son was pro­nounced dead on the scene.

Corder is charged with vol­un­tary man­slaugh­ter, a felony, pub­lic records show. He was ini­tially held at the Meck­len­burg County jail on Thurs­day but was re­leased later that night, ac­cord­ing to the sher­iff’s of­fice web­site.

The Char­lotte Ob­server and five other me­dia out­lets in North Carolina have sub­mit­ted pub­lic records re­quests to CMPD, seek­ing copies of the 911 au­dio from the shoot­ing, ac­cord­ing to the de­part­ment’s court fil­ing.

But, CMPD At­tor­ney Judy Emken says the 911 au­dio is ev­i­dence in a pend­ing crim­i­nal case.

“In the event the calls were re­leased to the news me­dia at this junc­ture, such re­lease could im­pact the right of the de­fen­dant to re­ceive a fair trial,” she wrote in a court fil­ing Fri­day.

An at­tor­ney for An­der­son’s fam­ily has said An­der­son was wrong to break in to the store but didn’t de­serve to be killed.

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