The hearing on WBTV Reporter Nick Ochsner’s petition for the body-cam footage of slain Mooresville K9 Officer Jordan Sheldon was over before it began.
Ochsner beat the crowds to the Iredell County Hall of Justice and had left before most people even arrived for the hearing, scheduled for 10 a.m. He withdrew his petition and walked out the front door of the courthouse around 9 a.m. and – just like that – the nightmare he created was over.
But supporters who were there – and those who filed in during the next hour – wanted to hear assurances from the judge himself that we could put this behind us and hopefully begin to help a grieving family … and community … heal. Unfortunately, not everyone was able to be squeezed into the small courtroom – too many supporters and not enough space – so people were being turned away.
I have a hard time finding the words for how I felt when I walked into Courtroom 3. Heartsick to see Officer Sheldon’s precious family already seated there – in a place they did not ask or deserve to be in this morning. But proud to see the showing of support around them, including several members of the Mooresville Police Department, N.C. Senator Vickie Sawyer, Iredell County Sheriff Darren Campbell, Register of Deeds Duck Wyatt and District Attorney Sarah Kirkman. I’m sure there were others I didn’t see or recognize.
The attorney representing the Town of Mooresville and its police department noted the overwhelming opposition to Ochsner’s petition. Addressing the judge, he said Ochsner’s withdrawal was of his own doing “and not as a result of a compromise or settlement.”
Ochsner had announced last night on his previously published “Reporter’s Notebook” that he would no longer be pursuing the petition. His announcement followed a press release issued by the town, updating the public on the completed investigation into Sheldon’s murder.
After filing out of the courtroom, hugs were shared and tears were shed with Officer Sheldon’s family members and fiancee, who are still – like many of us – trying to process why anyone would want video footage of one of the most tragic, devastating moments of their lives. I was blessed to be able to meet and speak with them a while – such an incredible family, so gracious and kind. We were there to support them, but I think they let some of us – okay, me – hug them a little longer and a little tighter. It felt like they were comforting us. Their love and strength as a family is breathtaking.
People speak so highly and lovingly of Jordan Sheldon and his big heart and kind and gracious spirit. Now I’ve met where he got it from.
But they shouldn’t have had to be there. This isn’t something they should have been put through this morning. It was completely unnecessary.
I’m so relieved that the nightmare is behind them … and us.