Vo family calls on city council to show them police footage

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TCB stock photo of Greensboro police by Caleb Smallwood

by Eric Ginsburg

Family members of Chieu Di Thi Vo are asking the Greensboro City Council to release the police body-camera footage in the shooting death of Vo two years ago. In a letter yesterday, Vo’s family members said “it’s time to end the shroud of secrecy around this case” as they repeated their request to view the footage of Vo’s final moments.

The Greensboro City Council plans to view the footage privately on its May 3 meeting to decide whether to release it publicly, but the Vo family letter asks for relatives — and not law enforcement or attorneys — to be present as well.

“We want nothing more than closure to this sad chapter in our lives and begin truly healing our wounds,” the letter reads. “Denying this opportunity would only cause us more pain and suffering.”

The family added that they “hope this transparency will help not only us but other families that face similar tragedies.”

Triad City Beat and the News & Record have repeatedly called for the public release of the footage — obviously we support the Vo family’s request for the same reasons.

Read the full letter below:

April 27, 2016

Dear Honorable Greensboro City Council members,

We will never forget March 25, 2014 when tragedy befell upon our family. It has been over two years since our beloved Chieu Di Thi Vo was shot and killed by Greensboro Police Department (GPD) officer T.J. Bloch, who was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing by the Guilford County District Attorney.

Not a day goes by that our family doesn’t think about Chieu Di and her life that was lost on that fateful day.  Since then we have many lingering questions about what happened in the final moments of Chieu Di’s life, but we have not received any answers from the city.

We waited patiently for all of these years, believing that the GPD and city of Greensboro would do the right thing and allow the immediate family to view the body camera footage of officer T.J. Bloch.

We even enlisted the help of the ACLU-NC to help pursue our requests, but our requests were turned down because the city authorities claimed the footage belongs in the personnel file of the officer and cannot be released to the public. Our only option was to file a lawsuit against the city and it was a step that entailed complex and confrontational litigation for which we were not emotionally prepared.

We learned yesterday from a community advocate, who has been helping our family with trying to get the body camera footage released, that on Tuesday, May 3rd, the Greensboro City Council will privately view the body camera footage and vote whether to release it to the public.  We are respectfully asking the city council to allow us to watch the video with the council members on May 3rd without any law enforcement officials or attorneys present. We want nothing more than closure to this sad chapter in our lives and begin truly healing our wounds.  Denying this opportunity would only cause us more pain and suffering. It’s time to end the shroud of secrecy around this case, and hope this transparency will help not only us but other families that face similar tragedies.

We appreciate the GPD and Greensboro city council members being respectful of our feelings, but this should not be a reason to deny us what we have been asking for since day one – to see what happened in those final minutes of our beloved Chieu Di’s life before it was taken away by multiple gun shots.

We ask that you grant our humble request.

Respectfully yours,
Chieu Di Thi Vo’s family