Debate Over Assault Video Bigger Than Joe Mixon, Attorney Says

Thursday, February 25th 2016, 7:17 pm
By: News 9

The legal battle to get public access of the Joe Mixon assault video headed back to court Thursday.

The video shows the University of Oklahoma running back punching Amelia Molitor in the face at Pickleman’s in Norman.

The Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters (OAB) filed a lawsuit, seeking the video through an open records request.

Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman previously dismissed the lawsuit, but the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals re-instated the lawsuit on Monday. The ruling said the surveillance video was part of the court file and was available for copying.

The appeals court sent the case back to Balkman, saying he would need to find that the “public's interest in the surveillance video outweighs the reason for denying access to it.”

The video was played in open court during a previous hearing in Balkman’s courtroom and in an April 30, 2015, journal entry, all parties and Balkman signed a document stating the video was now  part of the court record.

However in Thursday’s hearing, Balkman said that was incorrect and it is not court record. He said because the video was never entered as an exhibit, it is not part of the court record.

“Not particularly surprised by what occurred,” said David McCullough, the attorney representing OAB. “We anticipated that we would not be walking out today with access to the video.”

McCullough said this is no longer about Mixon, but a much bigger issue on all public records and the public’s access to those records.

“If you'll recall when this came up, we were starting to deal with the body cams and the dashcams and those are all still in play today,” McCullough told News 9.

Mixon entered a guilty plea and was suspended from the OU football team for a year. He has since been re-instated.

“What's really left is for the public to be able to examine all the information that was available and make their own decision and determination, was the University of Oklahoma right, was the District Attorney right, that's the purpose of the Open Records Act,” McCullough explained.

The City of Norman was ordered to keep the surveillance video and preserve it until this whole thing is sorted out.

McCullough said he and the OAB disagree with the judge’s order issued Thursday. He said they are looking at the next steps and considering all legal options.