FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry says the city will release body camera footage of his arrest for OWI back on Oct. 8.
The mayor gave a statement Friday at Citizens Square in response to the Indiana State Public Access Counselor opinion that the city violated the Access to Public Records Act by failing to release the body camera footage and incident report.
Below is the mayor’s full statement:
Good morning. Thank you for joining me today.
The evening of October 8, 2022 was undoubtedly one of the most challenging nights of my life.
Since that time, there has been much written and said about the release of police worn camera footage. To date, the City of Fort Wayne has never released footage from the cameras worn by our police officers. Our position was that the requests made did not justify their public exposure.
Recently, however, that longstanding position was challenged. I asked the City legal staff not to contest this challenge because I did not want City employee time, nor taxpayer money, expended on an issue revolving around my lapse in judgment.
After his review of the issues and of the law, the Public Access Counselor did in fact advise the City to release body worn camera footage. I respect the opinion of the Counselor and believe that the City should comply with his recommendation. Therefore, the City is releasing the body worn camera footage of my incident on October 8.
A few final thoughts as I conclude this conference.
First, I once again commend the responding officers of the Fort Wayne Police Department who handled my situation with professionalism and grace. While I am the Mayor of this City, I am no better than any other citizen. Each officer did exactly what needed to be done that night by holding me accountable for my actions.
I make no excuses; I have apologized to my family, my staff, and to our citizens; and, I have accepted full responsibility for my actions.
I am embarrassed of the video footage that you will see. There are moments that I believe fall beneath the Office of the Mayor – there is some profanity; some out of place orders given to care for my wife and her wellbeing; some obvious discomfort in handcuffs; and a general uneasiness with being placed into a jail cell. However, you will also see me compliant, and generally respectful toward our police officers.
This community rightly holds the Office of the Mayor to a higher level of responsibility. And I hold myself to an even higher level than that of the citizens. On that evening, I did not live up to those standards.
In spite of what will be written and what will be said about that evening, I will continue to give everything I have to this great City as no criticism will be as great as the criticism I give to myself.
Thank you; God bless you; and God bless the City of Fort Wayne.