Since 2005, Pennsylvania State Police have operated with mobile video recording equipment inside their vehicles. But on March 6, 2012, the night police said Columbia native Daryl Jerome Berry was shot and killed by a state trooper on the Pennsylvania State Turnpike, the trooper's dash cam was not recording the events.
The Pennsylvania State Police responded to a formal request by Patch for the dash camera footage of the events that night by saying that no records existed.
"PSP doesn't have any records such as you described in its possession, custody or control," wrote William Rozier, a records office official who responded to Patch's request for the dash cam footage.
Sgt. Anthony Mannetta, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania State Police, said dash cameras automatically begin recording as soon as an officer turns on his police lights. They are supposed to record all traffic and criminal enforcement stops, field interviews, police pursuits, traffic safety and sobriety checkpoints, and any other situation an officer deems appropriate, according to police's standard operating procedures that dictate the use of dash cameras, which were obtained by Patch through a formal public information request.
Also officers are required to ensure their cameras are working before they start a shift and any operational problems with the equipment are supposed to be immediately reported to the help desk, according to the standard operating procedures (see attached PDF).
Joyce Hamilton Berry, the mother of Daryl Berry and a Columbia resident, said police told her the camera in the trooper's car was malfunctioning when her son was shot and killed on the turnpike.
Patch has filed other formal requests for information related to the shooting, such as for 911 call recordings, police reports and witness statements. Pennsylvania State Police denied the requests citing an ongoing investigation.
Multiple calls placed over two months to Fulton County District Attorney Travis Kendall in Pennsylvania, who state police said was also investigating the shooting, were not returned.
Toxicology results released recently by the Fulton County coroner reported that no controlled substances were found in Berry's body when he was killed. Police reported after the incident Berry was shot after releasing his dogs on the trooper and then proceeding to attack the trooper with a metal flashlight.
Before the shooting, Berry was reportedly involved in an accident with two-tractor trailers that disabled his Mercedes station wagon, according to a Fulton County news report. His mother, Berry, said she with the length of the investigation and the lack of information being released by police.
"I am so hurt and so upset that until the District Attorney's office has completed their investigation, I can't get any information," said Berry.
For more information, refer to Columbia Patch's other coverage of this case: