A Tacoma resident who videotaped Seattle police kicking and stomping a Hispanic man pleaded not guilty today to possessing two video cameras allegedly stolen from a television news station.
Pierce County prosecutors charged Judson W. Morris III with one count of first-degree possession of stolen property.
Joe St. Laurent, one of two attorneys representing Morris, called the charge baseless following his client’s arraignment in Pierce County Superior Court. Commissioner Patrick Oishi allowed Morris to remain free on $20,000 bail he posted following his arrest Thursday.
Prosecutors contend in court documents that Morris, 46, illegally possessed two cameras belonging to KCPQ-TV, also known as Q-13. Morris once worked for the station as a freelance cameraman. The cameras are valued at $32,000 apiece, according to court records.
KCPQ employees noticed the cameras missing during a recent inventory and notified Seattle police that Morris may have taken them, court records show. Seattle police passed the information along to their Pierce County counterparts.
Pierce County sheriff’s detectives found the two cameras when they served a search warrant at Morris’s home Thursday. He told them he planned to buy the cameras from the station and had an agreement with an employee there to do so, according to the records.
That employee, Steve Kraycik, told detectives no agreement existed.
Morris caused a stir at Seattle PD and the television station earlier this year when he videotaped two Seattle officers who were investigating a robbery kicking a detained man and threatening to beat him.
When KCPQ delayed airing the video, Morris posted it to YouTube and sold it to KIRO-TV, which aired it in May, the Seattle Times reported last week. KCPQ claims the video belongs to the station and that Morris had no right to use or sell it, the Times reported.
Seattle policed launched an internal investigation into the officers actions, and the station’s news director resigned and a senior assignment editor was fired over the controversy.
KCPQ since has severed ties with Morris.