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Pullman police say surveillance video released in error

UPDATED: Thu., April 25, 2013, 5:33 p.m.

A video containing excerpts of surveillance camera footage from the night a Washington State University instructor was assaulted was released to The Spokesman-Review by police and published on the news company’s website for several hours on Thursday.

A Pullman Police records clerk mailed a disk on April 16 containing 30 minutes of footage from five surveillance cameras to staff writer Nicole Hensley in response to a public records request.

Shortly after the video was posted Thursday afternoon, Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins informed the reporter that the video had been released in error, but did not request that it be taken down from Several hours later, however, Jenkins asked that it be removed from the website because its release “could potentially hamper and impede our active investigation of this case.”

The Spokesman-Review agreed to that request, but reserves the right to re-post the video if formal charges are filed in the case. Three people have been arrested but not charged in connection with the assault.

Editor Gary Graham noted that the video was obtained legally, given to the newspaper by the Pullman Police Department. However, “In the spirit of cooperation with an active police investigation, we have agreed to remove it from our website.”

The video shows a confrontation between the instructor, David Warner, his friend, and the suspects identified by Pullman police. It also also shows emergency responders arriving on scene and a large crowd gathering around Warner’s prone body.

Warner was transported to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane and remained there in critical condition for two weeks. His condition has improved and he’s now at a rehabilitation center in Post Falls.

Warner can be seen with his arms stretched out between two feuding parties for nearly one minute before he’s tackled to the ground by a group of men around 1:57 a.m. on March 30. He fell to the ground, out of sight behind a parked car near 600 NE Colorado St.

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Then and Now: Comstock Park

James M. Comstock, born in 1838 in Wisconsin, arrived in Spokane in time to witness the great fire of 1889 and start Spokane Dry Goods with Robert Paterson. It became the Crescent, Spokane’s premier department store for a century. He also worked in real estate and owned other businesses. He served a term as Spokane mayor, starting in 1899. James Comstock died in 1918.