Warning: The video below with footage following the crash contains intense scenes some may find disturbing.
CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The Cincinnati Police Department released body cam and dashcam footage Friday from the Aug. 7 high-speed chase that killed two people in Newport, Kentucky.
CPD says it only recently received access to the footage from the Campbell County Prosecutor’s Office to assist with the department’s administrative investigation and to respond to public records requests. Previously it had been retained by the Newport Police Department, which is conducting the criminal investigation.
CPD and Cincinnati’s Citizen Complaint Authority are conducting parallel administrative investigations.
CPD Chief Eliot Isaac said in a statement Friday the officers involved have been temporarily reassigned to administrative assignments until the investigation is complete.
“The review of this video footage will be critical to the completion of a thorough investigation into the propriety of the officer’s actions involved in this vehicle pursuit,” Isaac said. “This pursuit will be reviewed based on the totality of the circumstances and assess compliance with our vehicle pursuit policy and standards.”
Mason Meyer, 28, was the driver involved in the 14-minute pursuit, according to a criminal complaint filed in Campbell County court. Kirsten Johnson, 22, was a passenger in the car. A third passenger was also in the car, though police say they have not identified them because they are not being charged.
Cincinnati police, ATF and Northern Kentucky law enforcement agencies were surveilling Meyer on Steiner Avenue in Lower Price Hill for drug and weapons activity on Aug. 7, according to a federal indictment.
According to the incident report, the surveillance began at 2:28 p.m.
At the time of the Aug. 7 chase, the indictment alleges Meyer and Johnson possessed 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, two loaded handguns and a loaded rifle.
Law enforcement officers tried to apprehend Meyer for federal firearm violations around 4:20 p.m., at which point he fled, police say.
The complaint alleges the chase went from Lower Price Hill, across the Ohio River and into Newport, where Meyer crashed into the patio of Press on Monmouth, killing two people, Gayle and Raymond Laible.
In a police interview, Meyer claimed he had tremors while driving and pulled the emergency brake before the crash, according to Newport Police Detective Scott Wiggins.
Prior to the Aug. chase, Meyer had a warrant out in Hamilton County for parole violations, according to a complaint from the Hamilton County Adult Probation Department, and in Boone County for a second, separate police chase that occurred July 30, according to the Boone County Sheriff’s Office. The warrant for that police chase was issued Aug. 7.
Isaac expressed his condolences for the deaths of the Laibles Friday.
“We never want to see a tragic outcome when our officers attempt to apprehend a violent criminal,” he said. “Law enforcement must constantly weigh the risks versus the benefits in these efforts, but it is important to recognize that Mason Meyer’s actions resulted in the deaths of these innocent lives and ultimately, he must be held accountable.”
In connection with the Aug. 7 chase, Meyer and Johnson face federal charges of drug possession with intent to distribute and firearms possession in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Meyer also faces charges in Campbell County court for the Aug. 7 chase, including two counts of murder, two counts of endangerment and one count of fleeing and evading police. He appeared in court Aug. 27.
For the Boone County chase of July 30, Meyer faces charges of evading police, wanton endangerment, reckless driving and operating on a suspended or revoked license.