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Lafayette Police Interim Chief Scott Morgan briefs the media about the officer involved shooting by Lafayette Police Officers at the Shell Station on Chalmette Dr. and NW Evangeline Throughway Friday, August 21, 2020 in Lafayette, La.. Others present are Carlos Harvin second from left, City-President Josh Guillory, center, Louisiana State PIO Derek Senegal and Marja Broussard, right, president of the Lafayette chapter of the NAACP, right.

The Acadiana Advocate, along with KATC-TV and The Daily Advertiser filed a petition Friday asking the court to dismiss an order blocking access to the information related to the Aug. 21 shooting of Trayford Pellerin and sealing the court record.

A temporary restraining order, issued Tuesday by Judge David Smith, bars the release of body camera footage, the names of officers involved and other evidence in the shooting of Pellerin by Lafayette Police officers.

The order, requested on behalf of three unidentified officers involved in the shooting and naming Louisiana State Police, the Lafayette Police Department and Lafayette Consolidated Government, was filed under seal. 

The injunction argued the public release of information and evidence in the case would impair the integrity of ongoing investigations into the shooting and anticipated civil litigation.

Lawyers for the media companies said in the petition that the restraining order is in violation of procedural law for a number of reasons, including that there was "no proof of immediate and irreparable injury, loss or damage."

They also argue that sealing the record of the restraining order is a violation of the U.S. Constitution and Louisiana law because it acts as a "gag order" and violates the public's free speech rights and the right of the press to report on public proceedings.

Pellerin died Aug. 21 after Lafayette police officers opened fire while he walked away from them and toward a convenience store armed with a knife, officials have said. Earlier attempts to stop him using a stun gun didn't work, according to police, though an independent autopsy commissioned by the family found no signs he had been struck with a taser.

Officers had pursued him on foot for half a mile after receiving a call about a man with a knife at another convenience store on Evangeline Thruway. The shooting was captured on cell phone video and shared on social media.

In a meeting with the Pellerin family last week, Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory said he would allow the family privately to view police body camera footage from the shooting, according to Ronald Haley, a lawyer for the Pellerin family.

Guillory sent a letter to District Attorney Keith Stutes' office Tuesday morning informing him of his intent to let the family view the footage, according to a news release distributed Wednesday afternoon by Chief Communications Officer Jamie Angelle. 

"Mayor-President Guillory is committed to honoring the promise he made to the Pellerin family and has directed City-Parish attorneys to advocate for the accommodation of a private viewing for the family of the footage at a hearing scheduled" on Sept. 15, the news release states.


Email Kristin Askelson at kaskelson@theadvocate.com.