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Halyna Hutchins’ Husband Demands Authorities ‘Take Down’ Footage Of The ‘Rust’ Cinematographer ‘Dying On The Church Floor’
In a letter to the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, an attorney for Matthew Hutchins said publicly sharing the footage of Halyna Hutchins’ final moments has caused “irreparable” damage to her family.
Halyna Hutchins’ husband is demanding the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office “take down” footage of her “dying on the church floor” after she was fatally struck by a bullet on the “Rust” film set.
The sheriff’s office released a massive amount of body camera footage, interview recordings, photos and reports to the media earlier this week, including footage reviewed by Oxygen.com of medics frantically trying to save Hutchins as she laid sprawled across the floor of an on-set church.
Hutchins, who later died at a New Mexico hospital, was shot in the chest after a gun held by actor Alec Baldwin discharged during an October rehearsal at the Bonanza Creek Ranch, killing her and injuring director Joel Souza.
Her family now wants the footage taken down and said they believe that publicly releasing the images of the 42-year-old fighting for her life has caused “irreparable” harm to her 9-year-old son Andros, Fox News reports.
“We demand that your office respect Matthew, Halyna and Andros Hutchins’ constitutional rights of dignity, privacy, respect and fairness going forward,” Matthew Hutchins’ attorney, Brian Panish, wrote in a letter to the sheriff’s office obtained by the news outlet. “We also demand that your office take down the video footage of Halyna Hutchins dying on the church floor. While the damage of publishing that video is irreparable, taking down the video will end your office’s complicity in causing future harm.”
Panish went on to say that Matthew fears the “shocking footage” could be used by bullies to “emotionally abuse” Andros in the future.
The letter, dated April 27, also alleges that the sheriff’s office “trampled on the constitutional rights of the Hutchins” arguing that the images were released without giving Matthew adequate time to review them first.
"Without any discussion, your office unilaterally determined that Mr. Hutchins would be given access to the materials to review early in the morning on Monday, April 25 before being released to the public later in the afternoon giving him less than a business day to review the materials,” the letter, also obtained by CNN, continued.
They described the amount of time Matthew was given as “wholly inadequate” given the “sheer volume of material” and said the family wasn’t able to request that “discretion be exercised, and sensitive material be redacted.”
The documents released by Sheriff Adan Mendoza also included personal information of those involved in the shooting, including telephone numbers and social security numbers of those associated with the production, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Lisa Torraco, an attorney representing assistant director David Halls, told the newspaper she believed the actions of the sheriff’s office were negligent.
“We are very very disappointed the sheriff released personal information,” she said in a statement.
Oxygen.com reached out the sheriff’s office regarding the criticism, but did not receive an immediate response.
On Tuesday, Mendoza told “Good Morning America” that his office had decided to release the files in response to a public records request, which they were required to comply with by law, ABC News reports.
“It was also an effort to be transparent in the investigation,” he said, of the lengthy investigation that began in October.
Mendoza described the criminal investigation into the shooting as “nearing completion” and said he believes it would be “weeks and not months” before the sheriff’s office is able to complete their report.
"As you can see with the enormous amount of information that we've released, the investigative report is 200-plus pages, it's very complicated. It's very convoluted. There is an enormous amount of information, so in order to do a thorough report, I think we're doing the best that we can with the time frame that we have," he added.
Earlier this month, the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau (OSHB) lodged a nearly $137,000 fine against Rust Movie Productions, LLC after concluding that the film’s management “knew that firearm safety procedures were not being followed on set and demonstrated plain indifference to employee safety.”
Shortly after the OSHB report was released, Alec Baldwin shared a statement from his attorney on his Instagram claiming the report “exonerates” him in Hutchins’ death.
Matthew Hutchins filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Baldwin and others associated with the production in February after claiming the actor had “recklessly shot” the cinematographer and that he and others “failed to perform industry standard safety checks.”