Live Video Of Police Deaths Triggers Investigation

By Jack Douglas Jr. and Ginger Allen| CBS11

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DALLAS (CBS11 I-TEAM) – “Real-time” video of police officers being killed and wounded on Dallas’ downtown streets led to a local activist being detained, CBS 11’s I-Team has learned.

As the mayhem unfolded last Thursday night, Niecee Cornute, a founder of the Black Women’s Defense League, was said to have used her cell phone camera to “depict the murder of one or more police officers in the downtown area…,” according to an affidavit obtained by the I-Team.

“There was indication that the video was uploaded to Ms. Cornute’s Facebook page in real time, as the offenses occurred,” the affidavit said.

Cornute was taken into custody, video from her phone was transferred to a disk, and then she was released, with the affidavit saying: “there was not sufficient probable cause to believe that Ms. Cornute was involved in the capital murder offenses.”

Cornute was out of town and unavailable for comment, said her attorney, Malik Shabazz.

Shabazz, a Washington-based attorney and former head of the New Black Panther Party, said Cornute was held by Dallas Police for four hours and then released, with her phone, but that they still had her car.

He told the I-Team police were looking for evidence that Cornute had some connection with suspected sniper Micah Johnson – evidence that the lawyer says doesn’t exist.

Though police still had her car, they had not contacted her since the deadly sniper attack that killed four Dallas policemen and one DART officer, and wounded nine more officers and a civilian.

“They haven’t bothered her because they can’t,” Shabazz told the I-Team. “She is out of town.”

The affidavit obtained by the I-Team said “it is believed that evidence constituting the offense of capital murder exists within the data contained on (Cornute’s] cellular telephone,” the only item in her possession when she was detained.

It added that the “video depicting the capital murder offenses being carried out was uploaded, live, to Ms. Cornute’s Facebook page.”

In a statement, a Dallas police spokesman told the I-Team they have “dumped” the video contents of Cornute’s phone onto a DPD storage drive, and plan to examine it “with all the other body cam footage they have.”

“The phone’s contents will be examined as the investigation continues,” the spokesman said.

The Black Women’s Defense League was established in Dallas in August 2015, and it describes itself on its Facebook page as “a coalition of women of color on the path to total liberation through defense training and community building.”

It promotes “a safe environment …for all women of color,” and “will work toward an immediate end to police terrorism, systemic racism, sexism and oppression of all impoverished people, especially women of color.”

The group also says on its Facebook site that it works towards the “right to defend self and community by any means necessary.”

If you want to reach CBS11′s Senior Investigative Producer Jack Douglas Jr., you can email him at jdouglas@cbs.com. If you want to reach CBS11′s Investigative reporter Ginger Allen, you can email her atgingera@ktvt.com

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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