El Paso County Coroner trying to seal slain deputy's autopsy from public

Published: Jul. 18, 2018 at 10:42 PM MDT
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It's been more than five months since Deputy Micah Flick was killed in the line of duty.

There are still questions about what happened that day in February.

Our news partners at The Gazette and The Colorado Springs Independent are working with lawyers to fight the El Paso County Coroner's request to block some public records, particularly the release of autopsy reports for Deputy Flick and the suspect who was killed during the incident Manuel Zetina.

Those reports typically include what someone was wearing at their time of death, how many injuries were sustained and bullet trajectory among others things.

Neighbor Michael Derossett talked to 11 News back when the shoot-out happened. Our crew talked to him again today about The Gazette’s efforts. He says some things still don't add up, including what El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder said the day after the shooting.

"They were wearing clearly visible plaqards that identify them front and back as police officers,” Elder said.

“They were all wearing bullet proof vests identifying themselves as sheriff's deputies,” Elder said.

"That was not the case. I know the officer said it when I saw it on the news we had badges blah blah blah, we had vests on. I have plenty of video that shows different,” Derossett said.

Deputy Flick and Manuel Zetina's autopsy reports could shed light on some of those details.

They are public record under Colorado law, but the coroner has petitioned to seal the documents.

Kaitlin Durbin with The Gazette says there were two reasons the coroner cited for not releasing the reports.

"They're saying the release of the document could hinder an open investigation, which right now is in the hands of the district attorney’s office being reviewed for justification. The second reason is they're saying the release of the document could injure flick's family because it could be too emotional for them,” Durbin said.

Durbin says the paper does not want to cause the flick family more injury, but they have to protect the public's right to information.

"If releasing these documents could help protect other law enforcement officers we have to get that in the public,” Durbin said.

The El Paso County Coroner is asking the 4th Judicial District Court to block the reports from being released. We're waiting to find out when a hearing will be set.