The family of Halyna Hutchins is slamming the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office for releasing video of the cinematographer’s fatal shooting.
Hutchins was killed last year during the film production of Rust—an American Western produced by and starring Alec Baldwin. On Oct. 21, 2001, Baldwin pointed a prop gun at Hutchins right before it accidentally discharged. The 42-year-old cinematographer was struck in the chest, and director Joel Souza was hit in the shoulder. On Tuesday, the Santa Fe Sheriff’s department released hundreds of videos and documents in connection to the investigation; one of those videos showed the aftermath of Hutchins’ shooting, as she laid dying on the set while surrounded by emergency personnel.
Brian Panish, an attorney representing Hutchins’ family, has since issued a scathing letter to Sheriff Adan Mendoza, demanding his office remove the disturbing video from its website. The lawyer says that under New Mexico law, a victims family has the right to review this sort of material and request redactions before its made publicly available. Panish says the release of the footage will cause irreparable harm to Hutchins’ widower, Matthew Hutchins, and their 9-year-old son, Andros.
“The first time Mr. Hutchins saw the disturbing and unsettling video footage of his dying wife lying on the church floor was on Radar Online, an internet website,” Panish said in a letter to Mendoza, as reported by theLos Angeles Times. “The potential consequences are disturbing given how information is misused on social media. We fear, for example, that this shocking footage of Andros’ mother dying may be material used by bullies to emotionally abuse him in the future [...] Your office trampled on the constitutional rights of the Hutchins. The damage your office has done is irreparable.”
On Tuesday, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office said it released the videos and documents for transparency, as state law requires the department to make public records available upon request. The dump included police reports, on-set interviews, still images, as well as the personal information—like phone numbers and email addresses—of Rust crew members.
The Sheriff’s office has yet to publicly respond to Panish’s letter.
Baldwin has denied culpability in Hutchins’ shooting death.