Family of man fatally shot by Anchorage police lobbies to view body camera footage

a man in a hat
Kristopher Handy. (Courtesy of Handy family)

Monte Handy has been asking Anchorage police to publicly release the footage of his son’s killing since it happened in May.

Kristopher Handy, 34, was the first person killed in a confrontation with officers since the department was outfitted with body cameras. What has followed has been a contentious debate over when footage of police shootings will become available to the public.

Right now, the Anchorage police chief makes the call. And chief-designee Bianca Cross says she won’t release any body camera footage of police shootings until after an investigation from the state Office of Special Prosecutions and the department’s internal affairs unit. There’s no timeline on the completion of those investigations.

Monte Handy said he’s frustrated.

“Chief Cross has repeatedly denied this request from our family,” he told Assembly members at their Tuesday night meeting. “We’ve requested that Mayor Bronson instruct Chief Cross to release the footage, and we have heard no response from his office on this matter.”

Family members are now lobbying the Assembly for help. They reached out to Midtown Assembly member Felix Rivera to bring forward a resolution requesting that the police department release the footage to them. Handy said, at the very least, the family wants to see what happened for themselves. 

“We are requesting this resolution so we can have a full understanding of what happened to our son Kris on May 13, and be able to have closure as a family,” he said. 

Shortly after Handy’s testimony at Tuesday’s Assembly meeting, Rivera asked Cross, who was in the audience, if she’d be open to the idea of letting the family privately view the footage with her. 

“I’m not necessarily talking about you releasing the footage to the family,” Rivera said. “But you inviting the family to come in and you show them the footage.”

Cross’s position on a private viewing mirrored her position on releasing the footage. 

“So, I’m open to having the family view the footage after (the Office of Special Prosecutions) has made their determination,” Cross said. “This is a criminal investigation, so if OSP decides that charges are warranted, we’ll have to reevaluate at that time.”

Rivera said he’s frustrated with Cross’s response, and is putting together a resolution that will formally call on the chief to allow the Handy family to privately view the footage. 

Initially, police said that Kristopher Handy had pointed a long gun at officers before they fatally shot him, but private security footage has called that narrative into question. Rivera said that has been a source of trauma for the Handy family.

“The police chief-designee, after that, said, ‘Well, we’re having to look into this further. There’s video that puts our original narrative into question,’” Rivera said. “And for me, that was us, as the Municipality, actively doing harm to this family.”

Rivera said his resolution would also ask for a reasonable timeline for the release of the body camera footage to the public, and provide guidance to incoming Mayor Suzanne LaFrance and her administration on how to handle the release of footage. The resolution wouldn’t be binding, but Rivera hopes it will show that the Assembly supports the Handy family. 

“I’m hoping it will send a message to the police department, and particularly the police chief, that we want something done,” Rivera said.

Last year, Rivera put forward an ordinance that would’ve officially codified body camera policies in city law, including setting up a timeline for the automatic release of the footage when officers shoot someone. However, it was scrapped over fears that it would further delay outfitting officers with cameras. Anchorage voters approved the purchase and use of the body cameras in 2021, but it wasn’t until this year that a majority of officers had them.

Now, Rivera said he’s prepared to introduce a similar proposal if the police department doesn’t change its position on the release of body camera footage. 

“I think the policy as it is written is just deficient and it does not do what the voters demanded,” Rivera said. 

In the weeks since Handy was killed by officers, Anchorage police have shot two other armed men, one of whom died. 

At Tuesday night’s Assembly meeting, members voted to postpone Cross’s confirmation hearing to July 2, the day after LaFrance is sworn in as mayor.

a portrait of a man outside

Wesley Early covers Anchorage life and city politics for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at and follow him on X at @wesley_early. Read more about Wesley here.

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