Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was accidently shot dead by actor Alec Baldwin in October 2001 as his prop gun had been loaded with live ammunition.
Police bodycam video footage of Hutchins dying on set was released to the public this week, and Hutchins’ widower has condemned the decision.
The grieving father and husband’s lawyer Brian Panish sent an email to Santa Fe Sheriff Adan Mendoza condemning the decision and accusing the department of ‘double-crossing’ Hutchins’ widower.
The footage shows Hutchins receiving emergency medical care as she lay fighting for her life on the set of western movie Rust. Paramedics can be heard saying “Halyna, stay with us!” as they struggle to save the dying mom, who appeared to be unconscious.
The bullet from the pistol had passed through her right armpit and exited her body through the top of her shoulder.
The 42-year-old Ukrainian born cinematographer who had previously worked on major productions including Darlin’ and The Mad Hatter would later die of her injuries.
According to Mr Hutchins, the sheriff had told him that he would be able to review the footage before it was released to the public, but the department, based in New Mexico, had ignored the family’s right to privacy and published the footage which the father of one said he was never shown:
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“Your office trampled on the constitutional rights of Hutchins”, said Panish in an email exchange published by TMZ.
“We demand that your office respect Matthew, Halyna, and Andros Hutchins’ constitutional rights of dignity, privacy, respect and fairness going forward. 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”.
There is also concern that the footage may affect Hutchins’ nine-year-old son Andros, particularly if trolls or bullies use it to taunt him and “emotionally abuse him in the future”.
In response to the family’s concerns and request to re-classify the footage, the department said it had released the clip following numerous “requests”, stating that the video was “public record”:
“We had received many requests for the information since the beginning of the investigation back in October when the incident occurred and it took us a lot of time to compile the data,” a spokesman for the department told the Times.
“When information is requested in New Mexico that is a public record, which these files are, we’re obligated to release them.”
The department also released numerous other reports, documents and videos in relation to the case, including a police interview with Alec Baldwin.
In the clip, two female officers inform Baldwin that Hutchins had died of her injuries.
One of the officers can be heard saying, “I do have some very unfortunate news to tell you. She didn’t make it.”
64-year-old Baldwin exclaims “No!”, covering his mouth with his hand and sitting silently in disbelief. He then can be seen putting his hand on his chest as the officer repeats that she “didn’t make it” and added that films director Joel Souza was still in hospital.
The cops ask Baldwin if there is anything they can do for him to which he responds that they can call his wife as he walks out of the room clutching his forehead.