POLITICS

Video That Appeared To Show Cop Shooting Handcuffed Man Discounted (UPDATE)

Officer Matthew Taylor was cleared of wrongdoing last year -- but newly released footage has investigators asking questions.

Authorities say a new video released Tuesday flies in the face of cellphone footage that appeared to show a Utah police officer fatally shooting a handcuffed suspect in the back.

It's been a year since Salt Lake City police Officer Matthew Taylor shot and killed James Barker, 42, during an altercation that involved Barker wielding a snow shovel as a weapon. Taylor's body-mounted camera showed that Barker swung his snow shovel at the officer, but the footage cut out before Taylor fired the fatal shots, according to the New York Daily News.

Taylor was cleared of any wrongdoing in February.

Last Friday, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill released new cell phone footage of the incident and announced plans to reopen an investigation into Taylor's actions. The video appeared to show the officer standing over Barker -- who appears to be lying motionless, facedown and handcuffed -- and firing at least two shots.

But on Tuesday, Gill released more video that discounts that conclusion, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. The video, taken from across the street, shows Taylor's weapon holstered as he handcuffs barker.

Additionally, four witnesses never reported seeing Taylor fire shots while the suspect was handcuffed, Gill said.

After the incident, Taylor said that Barker lunged at him and attempted to take his gun, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

“Our job and our commitment has always been [to be] as thorough and open and transparent as we can,” Gill told the Tribune last week. “So we are going to do our due diligence to re-examine what we have.”

The Salt Lake Police Association defended Taylor in a statement to the Tribune.

"We have full confidence the supplemental investigation will confirm the original justified ruling. It is our belief Officer Taylor did not shoot James Barker while he was handcuffed," the statement reads. "We appreciate any evidence anyone can bring forward, however, to speculate regarding a conspiracy theory is both irresponsible and unproductive."

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