Greensboro PD Finally Releases Footage In Deadly Shooting Of Mentally Ill Woman

Officer Tim Bloch shot Chieu Di Thi Vo on March 25, 2014. He had responded to a report of a fight at Aberdeen Townhomes on Pineland Street, between West Wendover Avenue and Patterson Street. Officer Bloch said Vo, who was Vietnamese, was yelling in a foreign language, waving a knife and moving closer to him. He told investigators that he shot Vo when she didn’t respond to his repeated commands to stop.

She died two days later. Family members said Vo had bipolar disorder.

Officer Tim Bloch is the same officer that was arrested and fired for abusing prescription medication. According to MyFox8, Officer Tim Bloch was arrested for “obtaining a controlled substance by defrauding a practitioner. He’s accused of getting Oxycodone”. One can only wonder if the former officer’s addiction to narcotics could have contributed to the shooting death.

Why did it take so long to release the video? Here is what had to say:

Timothy John Bloch
Timothy John Bloch

More than two years after the fact, the public can now see video footage from 2014 showing a police officer shooting and fatally wounding a woman. But its release took too long, caused too much turmoil and came with too many conditions attached, some open government advocates and journalists said Wednesday.

The city posted the footage of Chieu Di Thi Vo’s shooting by then-Officer Tim Bloch on Wednesday night. People can watch it on the police department’s website, YouTube and the city’s cable access station.The release came six hours after Police Chief Wayne Scott showed it to hand-picked journalists, including the News & Record. Members of the public couldn’t attend.

It should have been a victory for local activists and media outlets, who pressed for the video’s release immediately after the shooting and again in recent weeks. Instead, some expressed frustration with Wednesday’s events and the City Council’s decision not to release it until Scott could provide “context.”

Jonathan Jones, the director of the N.C. Open Government Coalition, said the city should have released the footage independently of that, since open records laws don’t give public bodies the luxury of waiting on that context. “Any record needs context before it is released,” said Jones, a lawyer who specializes in media law and a former News & Record reporter. “If you start saying, ‘This record can’t be released until it gets context,’ then you can hold everything,” he said.

Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan was out of town at a conference Wednesday, she said in a text message. She didn’t respond further to requests to discuss the matter. Earlier in the week, Vaughan defended the decision to let Scott withhold the record until his news conference. “I think contingencies on a video released that contains lethal force is appropriate under any circumstance or policy,” she said in an email.